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Food on the Run

Food service workers, whether cooks, wait staff, processors, or delivery or management personnel, all helped feed hungry residents, as well as travelers.

Warren Miller (1926-1991) began work at Steak 'n Shake in 1947 at the age of 21. His job was to load a truck at the Bloomington commissary with supplies that he delivered to Bloomington-Normal’s restaurants.

Soon Warren was also making deliveries to 18 other restaurants across Illinois and Indiana.

Warren liked delivery work, but eventually got tired of driving and joined the office staff as a manager.

He retired in 1972.

Warren Miller

Steak 'n Shake’s commissary on West Washington Street (pictured above in 1957) was where meat was butchered, ground into burger, and then packaged for delivery to the restaurants.

Curb service was a popular way to deliver fast food up until the 1980s. Carhops came to the customer’s car to take their order, often wearing roller skates. When the food was ready, they brought it to the car on a tray that clipped on the automobile’s rolled down window. Hungry customers then ate their meal in their car.

Steak 'n Shake menu, circa 1945.

Steak 'n Shake carhop serving tray, coffee mug, saucer, glass bowl, and order pad
Circa 1969 (glass) and 1965 (everything else)

View this object in Matterport

Donated by: Amy Miller (tray, coffee mug, saucer, bowl, and order pad) and Martin Wyckoff (glass)
2014.97.12, 09, 10, 11, 08; 848.436

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