Manufacturer: Syracuse China
User: The Flame Restaurant – Duluth, Minn. and Phoenix, Ariz.
Dates: creamer, date unknown; open sugar, 1938
Notes: The original Flame Restaurant was located on 14th at London Rd, Duluth, Minn. It began as a BBQ stand and grew to one of the finest restaurants in the area. It was the home of the "Magic Rooster Bar" and the "Chick Room." The diners were treated to a view of the Flame's own natural gardens, as they dined on steaks, chicken, ribs and fish caught in Lake Superior.
A menu (shown above) from The Flame restaurant – this one located in Phoenix, Ariz. – has the same red rooster as the sugar bowl and also the identical font used on the bowl. It bears an important clue under its name: Known from Coast to Coast. Whether there were additional Flame restaurants under this corporate umbrella is not known, but the following article ties together the Phoenix location to Duluth.
From the Nov. 27, 1949, issue of The Arizona Republic (shown above), is a description of a new Flame restaurant that was to open at 44 West Adams Street in Phoenix on the 28th. Owners of the new Flame were James and Lyle A. Oreck who were described as "nationally-known Duluth, Minn., restaurateurs.
"Patterned after Duluth's original Flame restaurant," the article continues, "the cafe will specialize in Lake Superior whitefish and trout, live Maine lobsters, steaks and chops.
"Key personnel have been brought here from the Duluth unit, which closes during the winter.
"Also direct from Duluth is Joe de Salvo and his orchestra, which will furnish entertainment daily."
A feature story in the May 27, 1951, issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune promotes the Arizona location and adds that the Phoenix location came about "When Thelma and Lyle Oreck, of Oreck's Department Store, Duluth, Minn., moved to Phoenix, they joined forces with Cousin Jimmie Oreck, originator of The Flame Restaurant in Duluth. Together they brought a new Flame to fame."
Even more interesting about this story (shown above) is that it shows the china in use.
And this story brings to life the lengths the owners went to create an exotic environment for their restaurant and elaborate Jungle Bar, including: "Two parrots named Rosie and Laura sat side by side in a banana tree watching a monkey named Yum Yum fast asleep in a palm."
A story in the July 22, 1949, issue of the Arizona Republic about the purchase of the Grand Cafe by Oreck, destined to become The Flame there, mentioned that "Oreck has operated The Flame Restaurant, one of the nation's smart supper clubs, in Duluth since 1930."
A June 1953 fire did damage to the restaurant, and apparently in the ensuing chaos Yum Yum escaped to avoid the fire but was later recaptured.
By April 1963, the Phoenix location had changed hands once or twice, and had been raided by the IRS for nonpayment of taxes, followed that same night by a fire in the restaurant/club. After that momentous day, the club's president, Gertrude Evelyn Fees, filed for bankruptcy.
The eight-sided Econo-Rim open sugar has the deep red profile of a rooster facing right, and underneath, also in red, The Flame.
Phoenix menu: Brad Payne
Research: Roland Burritt