Young and Hungry

Restaurant Matchbooks: More Than a Light for Your Smoke

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A few weeks ago when I was biting into that crisped pork belly at Northside Social, I saw something you don't see much these days at casual eateries — real, honest-to-God matchbooks. You know, to light those cigarettes that you can't smoke in restaurants anymore.

The matchbook got me all nostalgic for those days when you could choke down your dinner — and your neighbor's cigarette smoke — right at the same bar. It also got me nostalgic for my old matchbook collection, which I started as an earnest attempt to keep fire sticks in the house for my old, two-pack-a-day habit. Those days are long gone.

But my habit of picking up matches has continued, and still continues today wherever I can find them, more as an effort to snag small flammable souvenirs to help me remember the many places where friends and I have dined over the years.  Who knew that, one day, someone would create a small restaurant chain around matchbooks?

A snapshot of my matchbook collection after the jump.

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Comments

  1. #1

    Nice to see my dumb habit and hometown (KC) represented....

  2. #2

    My grandmother was a hard-core member of a matchbook club. Entire rooms full of these weird binders. And ring-shaped things that were just masses of matchbooks somehow wedged into an circle shape.

    You are officially 90 something. And deceased. Yet i want to hug you.

  3. #3

    LOVE this post! Did you keep only the interesting ones? Only the truly great restaurants? Or did you just collect them all?

  4. #4

    love this post. i want a wall of sketches, paintings and b&w photos of matchbook covers.

  5. #5

    I have a collection too but I'm not 90 nor deceased! Your collection is impressive and of restaurants gone by. I've seen some displayed in a box frame or like you thrown into a vessel. Are they empty or do you keep the matches? I had a bunch I collected when I lived in London 20+ years ago but I think it was removed from my trunk when I moved back. Thanks for bringing old memories!

  6. #6

    This post has been an eye opener; I'll add it to my :).It also got me nostalgic for my old matchbook collection, which I started as an earnest attempt to keep fire sticks in the house for my old, two-pack-a-day habit.

  7. #7

    Those matchbox collections will be worth a fortune in 50 years.

  8. #8

    Just found your column/blog on the inernet. I would like to link to it from my Web site http://www.matchbooktraveler.com. As a matchbook collector, I started listing places around the world friends, relatives, strangers even, have found matchbooks with the name of the restaurant, hotel, bar, whatever. Itt is one matchbook collector helping another. Ok to link (thought I should ask as Rupert Murdoch and others seem to be against linking to sites they own)? Thanks.

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