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Remember This? The Adanac Dairy Bar

From 'greasy fork and spoon' to high-end restaurant, the Adanac Dairy Bar occupied the corner of Queen and Gore for 55 years

From the archives of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library:

Canada backwards.

That is the name of the food bar that opened in 1940 at 544 Queen St. East in a building that rubbed shoulders with the Telegraph Office. Owned and operated by Patrick and Carmen Muio, The Adanac Dairy Bar came to be when the Muio brothers decided to take over Capy’s Dairy Bar from then owner Frank Capy.

Pat and Carmen Muio began working at Capy’s Dairy Bar as young teenagers and in 1939 Frank Capy offered to sell them his business.

During a lively discussion on what the new name should be, one of the waitresses suggested the name ‘Adanac’, the name of a baseball team at that time.

And so, the Adanac Dairy Bar was born. They operated the Adanac as a lunch counter until 1962 when they opened their restaurant at Queen and Gore.

In 1942 Carmen was called to the army and served with the Canadian forces on Garrison duty in Jamaica until 1945. At that point, he actively rejoined his partnership with his brother Patrick in the dairy bar. Operation of it was a family event. Included in the brother-partnership were Guy and Frank Muio, both of whom were experienced cooks.

Both full-course meals and speedy luncheon services were offered. The Adanac clientele and the Dairy Bar was one of the few cafes in the Soo to offer 24-hour service.

Another feature of the Adanac was the issuing of meal tickets to single working men, a method of offering reduced food rates to steady customers which helped many save money at a time when every penny counted. It was a novel idea in the food industry in Sault Ste. Marie at the time.

In the summer of 1947, the Adanac Dairy Bar closed its doors temporarily for renovations. On Aug. 6, 1947, the Adanac Dairy Bar re-opened after extensive decorations and improvements. A full page in the Sault Star advertising the modern upgrades accompanied the re-opening.

In a 1948 news article in the Sault Daily Star the Adanac Dairy Bar is described as leaving the days of “the greasy fork and spoon” behind. “Now gleaming, spotless and sterilized silverware is proudly placed before Adanac customers as they are seated.”

In addition, a point of pride was the “Hobart dishwashing machine” that was installed at “considerable expense.” The article went on with elaborate descriptions: “Garbed in business-like black and white uniforms smart waitresses work against a background of shiny mauve and yellow tile interspersed with large circular mirrors.”

An up-to-date soda bar and homemade pastries helped draw in many patrons, numbered among them many visiting celebrities including Duke Ellington, Charlie Spivak, Tony Pastor, Jimmy Dorsey, Tex Ritter, Barbara Ann Scott and others.

In 1962, the Muio brothers closed the doors to their lunch counter at 544 Queen Street to make way for their new large restaurant. With the change of location came the change of name and thus the Adanac Dairy Bar’ became simply ‘The Adanac’. The much larger, fully-fledged restaurant was located not far away at 33 Queen Street East.

The Adanac restaurant was later purchased by Mario Tucci and incorporated into his company, Adanac Canada Ltd. which also included Adanac Transportation. The restaurant became synonymous with the bus depot that took up residence alongside it. The Adanac restaurant closed at the end of March 1995 after Tucci had to vacate the location to make way for a new federal government complex.

Each week, the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and its Archives provide SooToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Public Library has to offer at and look for more "Remember This?" columns here.

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