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By Jane Feehan
In 1963, airline caterer Hot Shoppes employed 550 in Miami. From their operations center at 4101 NW 25 Street, the company made soups, gravies, pastries, butchered meats, and purchased supplies. Hot Shoppes produced 5,000-6,000 meals a day during winter in the Magic City.
Its founder, J. Willard Marriott, opened his first food stand in 1927 in Washington, D.C. The small company, Hot Shoppes, was soon an icon in the capitol area, serving meals in a casual setting. Within a decade, Hot Shoppes entered the national market.
The company pioneered the airline in-flight catering industry. They provided meals to Eastern, Pan American, TWA, Avianca and delivered to airline hubs from their facilities across the nation The company operated 100 plants throughout Florida in 1963 and had plans to open “in quick succession” seven more, according to Calvin Wienges, then southern regional manager.
Its development of in-flight food service proved to be a boon, elevating its profile and expanding its business across the nation. The company was renamed Marriott Corporation in 1967. The year it became Marriott Corporation, the company purchased Big Boy, the following year, Roy Rogers restaurants. There were other chain restaurants—and soon a string of hotels. Hot Shoppes closed in 1999. Today, in the Anthem restaurant at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., a lunch counter modeled after the original Hot Shoppes restaurants serves Hot Shoppes classic favorites.
So many in South Florida and throughout the nation have been touched in one way or another by what came to be emblematic of world-wide hospitality. And it all started with a food stand.Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.
Miami News, April 7, 1963
Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2011
Tags: Miami history, South Florida history, food history, film researcher, Jane Feehan Fort Lauderdale historian, Miami historian