1948 & 1957 Postcards and Matchbook Cover – Jon Walter
1949 Postcard – James Whitlow
Scanned by Jon Walter & James Whitlow
Byron and Bess Sullivan opened the Salad Bowl Restaurant in Walnut Ridge in 1946. It quickly became popular throughout the south and was well known for its excellent food, fine-dining, and white table cloths. Many people still remember the lobster tank, pretty fancy stuff for Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. For 200 miles north and south of Walnut Ridge on Highway 67, billboards announced to drivers how many minutes until they reached the Salad Bowl and could quench their appetite.
The first postcard, grey and blue in color and showing a cobblestone building, was published in 1948, and boasts “Refrigerated Air-Conditioning” on the front. The back of the card has the slogan “FOOD THAT YOU LIKE”, and states that the restaurant is 3 blocks North of Main Street on Hi-Way 67. This postcard was mailed on Jan 14, 1949 to Miss Mildred in Toledo Ohio, and states
Pay for breakfast and card is free. Fair enough.
Just a year later, in 1949, a newer card was published in color, showing the same building but with some newly added green awnings and a sign that says there is “Parking in Rear”. This postcard was not mailed. The back now says “SEA FOOD – STEAKS – CHOPS” and is recommended by the American Automobile Association and Duncan Hines.
The third postcard was published in the late 1950’s. This postcard shows the restaurant in a new building, still on Highway 67. This restaurant was where Special Things is now, across the street from where Sonic is located. This postcard was not mailed. The back now says “RESTAURANT and GIFT SHOP”, and mentions that it is air conditioned and has plenty of parking space.
Bess Eva Brown Sullivan
Bess Eva Brown Sullivan, age 91, of Little Rock died October 30, 2013 at Good Shepherd Nursing Center in Little Rock. Mrs. Sullivan was a past resident of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (1949-1959).
Raised in poverty during the Great Depression and surviving the breakup of her family with the two youngest being sent to an orphanage, Bess was able to finish high school in Swifton, Arkansas in 1938. Bess married Byron Sullivan and together during the 1950’s they founded the Salad Bowl Restaurants with operations in Walnut Ridge and El Dorado, Arkansas, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Greenville, Mississippi and Longview, Texas. During the 1950’s and 1960’s many members of their “Greatest Generation” would time their Highway 67 travel from Little Rock to St. Louis, Missouri by the restaurant road signs and stop in Walnut Ridge for dining. The Salad Bowl offered an extensive ala carte menu (to include live Maine lobster) and a gift shop offering items such as Blenko Glass, Red Wing pottery and “Wingback” earrings, all a unique experience for travelers in Northeast Arkansas at that time.
Bess was an outstanding cook and developed many of the recipes featured on the menu at the Salad Bowl Restaurants. One of her favorite recipes, Chicken Breasts Supreme, won the top honor at the May 1976 Mississippi Poultry Association chicken cooking contest allowing her to compete at the national level in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July of that year.