Monday, August 30, 2010

vintage windsor star ad of the day

Vintage Ad #1,190: For the Love of Chicken (Swiss Chalet Comes to Windsor)

Swiss Chalet had served up its rotisserie chicken to diners in other parts of Ontario for a quarter of a century by the time it opened its first locations in Windsor in 1980. One sign a proofreader may have been asleep on the job—it's Dougall Avenue, not Dougal Rd.

The Dougall location was a frequent dinner destination during childhood. Our orders varied little: Chalet Salad (chicken chunks mixed into shredded cabbage) and a side of fries for Dad, quarter chicken breast dinners for the rest of us. Maybe a chicken sandwich once in awhile. Fulfilling my role as a human garbage disposal unit, I drank anyone's leftover Chalet Sauce that hadn't been used to coat chicken, fries or the half of a hamburger bun that came with dinner. It was fun to dunk my hands into the finger bowl filled with water and a dainty shred of lemon at the end of the meal (sorry Swiss Chalet management, but wet wipes are a wimpy substitute). My grandmother sometimes accompanied us and I wonder if a meal there was a comforting reminder of home after she moved from Toronto to Amherstburg.

Both of the Windsor locations were heavy on the faux-Euro trappings during the 1980s: medieval castle-style carvings, dark lighting, waitresses in Swiss Miss finery. Ever years after the chain switched to casual ware and a brighter atmosphere, it still feels a little odd not to see chickens rotating behind decor appropriate for a minor German prince.

Two tenants in the plaza behind the Dougall Swiss Chalet were an interesting pairing. Operating next to each other were Baskin-Robbins...and Weight Watchers. When the plaza was rebuilt years later, both remained.

Swiss Chalet currently operates three locations in Windsor, none of which are the pair that established their presence in the city.

Source: The Windsor Star, May 2, 1980 - JB

2 comments:

Amy said...

That plaza on Dougall is full of contrasts. You have your health-conscious tenants: WW, Curves, KidFit (an indoor kids' "gym"), and a Mediterranean restaurant. On the other hand you have Baskin-Robbins and Taco Bell.

Didn't Dad also like their giant sundaes?

Jamie said...

He did...though I couldn't remember if the "super sundae" was at Swiss Chalet or Big Boy.