Pad thai is a generic term for a popular food in Thailand consisting of stir-fried rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts, shrimp, peanuts, and seasonings; the name comes from the Thai term phad thaj, roughly “fried dish from Thailand.” It is also the name of a restaurant, Pad Thai Lounge, at 114 8th Avenue just off West 16th Street in Chelsea. I passed the restaurant during routine perambulations, and noticed that the proprietor has preserved something on the sidewalk sign, a much older sign from a previous tenant with a generic sign designating it as a lounge/restaurant. Dating the sign is difficult…
…because it employs a “privilege sign” (in which a sign was sponsored by an advertiser) that used the main 7 Up logo that was in use between 1943 and 1972, the longest-lived logo the lemon-lime soda has ever employed, and frankly, it’s the best; none before or since have been this iconic. Thus, the sign could have been installed during any year from 1943 to 1972, a good 29 years.
The Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda was originated in 1929 by Charles Leiper Grigg, but that name was of course too unwieldy and 7 Up was adopted in 1936. Theories abound about the name; some speculate that seven main ingredients are used, and others say that “7” is the atomic mass of lithium citrate, which was used in the drink’s production until 1948. Lithium’s mood-altering nature is well-known and has been used in psychological treatments. 7 Up was originally marketed in 7-ounce bottles, which is likely the true reason.
I don’t know if you can get 7 Up with your pad thai at the Pad Thai Lounge.