Time & Again

-- What, McDonald's isn't the oldest restaurant?!? One thing's for sure: We have a lot of local history buffs in Seattle. We asked last week what the city's oldest, still-operating restaurant was. Dozens of you responded. Merchants Cafe in Pioneer Square got the most votes from callers, followed closely by Jules Maes Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on Airport Way South in Georgetown. Several callers thought Canlis Restaurant was the oldest. Three others nominated that Aurora Avenue North landmark: the Twin Teepees. But for the official word, we turned to two guide books. According to the 1993 edition of "Seattle Cheap Eats," Jules Maes is "the oldest continuously operating saloon in Seattle. . . . Other such saloons judiciously closed during Prohibition, but old Jules Maes (the Belgian emigrant who opened the place in 1888) simply sold near-beer out front and ran the back as a speakeasy." The saloon and eatery probably isn't recognized as the oldest restaurant in Seattle because Georgetown wasn't annexed by Seattle until the early 1900s. Meanwhile, the 1993 edition of "Insight Guides" lists Merchants Cafe, established in 1890, as the city's oldest restaurant. "In gold-rush times," the book says, "(Merchants Cafe) served 5-cent beers to miners waiting their turns at the upstairs brothel." -- Here's a New Mystery of the Week: Two callers wanted to know what has happened to the bright red-and-white, full-size cannon that used to stand across the street from Milo's Drive-in on East Marginal Way. The cannon, which our callers said looked to be World War I vintage, suddenly disappeared last week after standing in that spot for years. Does anyone know more about it? -- Twisted Classics Continued: Some more titles from readers: "Mopy Duke" (about a black sheep in the royal family); "Snow Falling on Breeders" (a tale of lusty heterosexuals in a winter wonderland); "A Farewell to Mums" (Princess Diana takes her departure from Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mum). Don't forget: The best titles get painted on the wall of The Couth Buzzard bookstore on Phinney Ridge. -- Java Cafes Make Seattleites Unbelievably Perky: A caller beseeched us for a new mnemonic device to remember the south-north progression of streets in downtown Seattle from Jefferson to Pine. The standard mnemonic, of course, is: Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest (the first letter of each word corresponds to the first letter of the streets). "I've always remembered that one, but it's a pretty nonsense sentence," our caller said. "I'm sure your readers can come up with new ones." Readers?

Time & Again is written and compiled by reporter Janet I-Chin Tu. To reach her with your contributions, write (Time & Again, c/o Scene, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111), call (464-8474), fax (464-2239) or e-mail (jatu-new@seatimes.com).