Spot Cafe

Read about the history and designation of the Spot Cafe historic landmark.


The Spot Cafe was a significant example of early fast food restaurant architecture.

  • Location: 615 10th Street South
  • Neighborhood: Elliot Park

Historic photo (circa 1935 menu)

The Spot Cafe menu Circa 1935



Current photo (1983)

The Spot Cafe at 615 10th Street South in 1983






  • Architectural Style: Art Deco
  • Architect: Unknown


  • Historic use: Commercial
  • Current use: Demolished


  • Construction date: 1932-1933
  • Contractor: Unknown


  • Area(s) of significance: Architecture
  • Period of significance: 1932-1951
  • Date of local designation: 1983
  • Date of National Register designation: N/A
  • Designation: Exterior

Historic profile

The Spot Cafe was a significant example of early fast food restaurant architecture. Henry H. Bowman, a local real estate investor, had the restaurant built. He began construction in 1932 at 230 10th Street South in front of a house he owned. Permit concerns and legal issues meant the building wasn't completed until 1933. 

The Spot Cafe was a very good example of the Art Deco style. Bowman had the builders use white and blue glazed brick and prominent pilasters. Wall signs were set in the brick through painted metal panels above the windows. White building materials were a popular choice at the time. They suggested that the cafe was machine-like, modern, and hygienic. The cafe had a small interior layout like early railroad car diners. Popular White Castle or White Tower restaurants influenced the building design. The cafe itself was an architectural statement. It could attract passing customers with its unique appearance. In a way, the building was like its own billboard. 

From the time it opened in 1933, Bowman's restaurant was called "The Eatathon". The Eatathon served club breakfast from 5:00am to 10:00am. Diners could order sandwiches, soups, fish, oysters, various potato dishes, steaks, and chops. The business became known as the "Spot Cafe" or "Corner Spot Cafe" in the late 1940s. In 1951, Henry Bowman moved the building a few blocks down the street to 615 10th Street South.

Since it was completed, the building did not change much, aside from its signs. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1996, for an unknown reason. The site is now a parking lot.  


Photo credit

  • Circa 1935 menu: Courtesy of Hennepin County Library
  • 1983 photo: Courtesy of Hennepin County Library

Work cited

  • Hennepin County Library Digital Collections
  • Minneapolis Building Permit Records
  • Minnesota Historic Property Inventory Form, HE-MPC-00386, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
  • Star Tribune Archives

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