DIXON CAFETERIA. Briefly in the light, November 2006.

by Kevin Walsh

A slice of history form the 1940s was revealed on 8th Avenue and 43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen in late November when the old facade of the Dixon Cafeteria was revealed. A jeans store had occupied this space previously, and it was being converted to the new 8th Avenue Pavilion.

As David Dunlap put it in this November 22, 2006 New York Times story:

Dixon’s opened in 1946. It was known in the 1960s for homemade bread and yogurt. On a postcard showing its snazzy red-and-yellow food bar, it invited patrons to “enjoy a leisurely meal and the finest liquors” and promised to offer fare “as economically as quality permits.”

John Marshall Mantel, New York Times

I found a couple of postcards depicting the Dixon Cafeteria on ebay. We can see that the distinctive “X” on the sign was meant to convey an anthropomorphic figure, here shown with a chef’s hat.

In David Dunlap’s article, Lorraine Diehl, author of The Late Great Pennsylvania Station, recalls the Dixon: “I remember thinking that Dixon’s was more ‘dressed up’ than the others because there were these large bouquets of artificial flowers in the window. I can’t say I remember the food, only the very cheerful atmosphere.”

Sign Media International of Woodside, Queens, which is making the new 8th Avenue Pavilion sign, actually managed to illuminate the neon tubing from the D and the O.

No word, though, on whether the sign will be salvaged.

Workers Expose a Memory of a Bygone Times Square, David Dunlap, New York Times November 22, 2006. (will likely be on the pay page)