I used to eat at cafeterias. Don't know if they even have them anymore. When I was in clerk school in the army at Fort Knox, I always ate at the Main Post Cafeteria. At the 'march 'em to chow' order, after each day of classes, I would duck down an alley, go back to my barracks, change to civilian clothes, climb down the fire-escape so as to not run into anybody that might be curious, and walk to Main Post. When in the Army in Washington, would also eat sometimes at Cafeterias in down-town DC. They were frequented mainly by elderly people - retired. The food was pretty good, and was fairly cheap. Cafeterias had the classic American dishes like Meat loaf, Fried Chicken, Pot Roast, Cheese and noodle casserole, Chile, Soup, Mashed Potatoes and gravy, an assortment of cooked vegetables, bread buns and butter. There was deserts like cake, pie and Jello. There was coffee, tea and milk.
In San Francisco there was a cafeteria called Moars. It was on Powell Street right at the Powell and Market Street cable car turntable, across the street from the big Woolworth's. I would stop in at Moars sometimes on my transits, from North Beach where I was living and attending the Art Institute, over to my work in the pottery shop in Bernal Heights. Moars was notable because of the giant floor to ceiling mosaics by Beniamino Bufano, one of which was a huge whale.
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