A Valentine Diner was a prefabricated mail order diner produced in Wichita, Kansas.
Valentines were small eight- to 12-seat diners with a limited menu, making them ideal to operate a business with little capital. Sales of the buildings expanded nationwide, and soon Valentines were all over the United States. The concept was created by Arthur Valentine in the 1930s.
Valentine was born in Illinois, but moved to Kansas in 1914. In the late 1920s Valentine and his wife, Ella, opened a restaurant in Hazelton. They eventually had a chain of restaurants known as the Valentine Lunch System.
Around the same time, Wichita’s Ablah Hotel Supply Company started building small, portable lunchrooms, and ran chains of restaurants across the midwest. Valentine soon began working for Ablah as a salesman. By the end of the 1930s the Ablahs wanted out of lunchroom construction, and Valentine took over and ran the business under his own name.
Arthur’s health began to fail in 1951, and his involvement in the company diminished until his death in 1954. The business was sold to the Radcliff family in 1957. By the end of the 1960s Valentine was slowly fading away, and by 1975 it was gone for good.
There is a sizable list of Valentine’s Diners still around. Click here to see the list. https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/valentine-diners-kansas/18729
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