Manufacturer: Shenango China
User: B/G Sandwich Shops
Date of plate: 1957
Notes: Also commonly seen with the spelling as B-G, B/G Sandwich Shops were a nationwide chain with first references found in the early 20th century.
In 1920, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce welcomed its new members, including "B-G Sandwich Shops," with the following description: Located at "1022 Market St. – 'A meal a minute.' This concern operates attractive sandwich shops in forty cities, the chain extending from California to New York."
Considering that the business operated at least into the 1950s, based on the date code on a topmarked Shenango China plate, it is unknown how many shops were part of the chain at its peak. But branches did seem to stretch across the country, keeping up with the business's advertising that called itself "A National Institution."
In his book "Dining in Chicago," published in 1931, John Drury wrote fondly about one of the Chicago branches, located at 109 S. Clark St.:
"The United States seems to have gone in for the Earl of Sandwich's invention in a big way. Probably no other agency is more responsible for this than the B-G Sandwich Shops, which are to be found in all the principal cities. Is there anybody who doesn't relish the type of sandwiches served in a B-G place – those three-deckers, toasted, and made with such wholesome edibles? The most popular of these sandwiches is the B-G Special, composed of various meats and Mayonnaise dressing. Their coffee is also of first-rate quality, prepared as it is by special process. And the pies are something which make you feel glad that you're eating in a B-G place. We highly recommend a B-G Sandwich Shop for a light snack on a hot summer's day. "
On his entertaining website, James Lileks includes a unique, undated ad for B-G Sandwich Shops in Chicago with an image of a waitress with "NO THANK YOU" lettered above her. The ad's text:
"The T.E. (tipping evil) is taboo in B/G. The members of B/G are clean, self-respecting young men and women. Their duty and pleasure is to serve you promptly and courteously. Tipping is un-American – and they are Americans."
The plate has B/G in bold black on the rim on a plain white background.
Photos of plate contributed by reddygal
Photo of mirror contributed by itsagas