Jenny and I had been wanting to see the movie Dr. Zhivago. It was a long movie (over three hours) and was now playing at a local Tustin theater. We went to a late afternoon showing, and it was dark by intermission. The complicated love story was set during the Russian revolution. We enjoyed the music and the beautiful scenes of the Russian countryside (actually filmed in Spain).
After the film we went to the “Snack Shop” in the city of Orange for dinner. They served great burgers and fries, and we had pie for dessert. The Snack Shop was unusual in that it would sell a whole pie and then serve individual slices to sit-down guests before boxing it to take home.
Interestingly the founders of the Snack Shop were former Marines from El Toro. John and Audry McIntosh met in the Marines and were married in 1948. After leaving the military they purchased a restaurant in Corona Del Mar that had been damaged by a kitchen fire (it is now Ruby’s Diner). They bought the place for $3,000 and the first Snack Shop became so popular that a second was opened in 1950. By 1960 there were eleven in the chain. Thinking beyond coffee shops, they opened Reuben’s Steak House in Newport Beach. This was the start of “Far West Services” that grew to become a large restaurant conglomerate. It included Coco’s, Moonraker’s, The Plankhouse, Baxter Street, Rueben E. Lee, and more.
The thought of working in or managing a restaurant had never crossed my mind. Ironically, I would spend twenty years of my restaurant career working for Far West Services and it’s components (Reuben’s, Coco’s and Carrows).
Back in our apartment we had a long discussion about the Bolshevik revolution, the rise of the Soviets and the creation of the USSR. I knew little of this history. Jenny was a political science major and had a good understanding of the differences between socialism and communism. It was an enlightening conversation, especially before heading off to war in Southeast Asia. I silently wondered which system would be better for the Vietnamese people.
Next edition: Jenny’s Last Day of Work