Tucson, AZ

Zero-gravity space picnic at a diner in Tucson. A single example of a wide range of foods, some sharpened, some severely angular, all edging away from an approaching wall of whiteness. (Photo by H. Ensor)

Jackson, MS

Bailey Street, Jackson, Mississippi. Chicken, sausages, fries, classic steam and asterisks. Without context, the lines could indicate they are falling fast. The panel to the left says you must be 25 or older to enter, an odd choice.

Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS. I feel half-tipsy already looking at that painted sign. The steeply tilted pool table, the sloppy drunk floating head and glass. Curious choices are made regarding the layering of cue sticks, rack, burger image and shark image. Possible the burger and shark were there first. All the imagery presumably represents things you’ll see inside Dot’s Lounge, which raises questions about the shark. With all due respect to the rules, that wall is begging to be loitered against. Ubiquitous asterisk flourish.

(Photo by Ashleigh Coleman)

Hatch, New Mexico

Old school sentient coffee. (photo by L. O’Neill)

Southbury, Connecticut

Surprisingly faithful to the take-out cup design. And a different approach to steam, not the curly lines you usually see.

Denver, Colorado

wadsworth.louisiana, denver, co

Ah-ha!  This is the first example in the HPFSA where a single painter shows up on two different establishments.  This is clearly the same painter who did this one at Alemeda & Sheridan.

(Wadsworth & Louisiana)

Show-Low, Arizona


As American as this Protestant pie.  If you want your food painted at lecherous angles or in cavalier colors, you may like to dine someplace else.  Like Babylon.


Show-Low, Arizona


Determination in pie format.

Natchez, Mississippi


Hot dogs are so frequently painted at a lecherous angle.

Ozona, Mississippi

Well, there are those asterisks again.  Why is that a go-to embellishment all over the country?  Where do we learn that?

Denver, Colorado

alameda.sheridan, denver, co

Now that takes the asterisks theme to a celestial level.

(Alameda & Sheridan)

Natchez, Mississippi

natchez09.08 (4)

That looks scary hot.  Even the improvised gold border can’t contain the steam.  This hotdog is very close to my heart; it is from my hometown and says something to me about that town.  Not sure what, but there it is.  Look, asterisks again.

(St. Catherine Street)

Mt. Vernon, New York


The ubiquitous asterisk flourish.  Shows up a lot in taco shop signs, here it is more  a 50’s Americana reference.  The solid black shadows are notable.  If food has a shadow, the image has left the realm of food-as-concept and is meant to represent an actual food object.  Do certain areas of the country, or certain social classes consider food as object, while for others food is represented as a concept?  Maybe we can tell by tracking the presence of the shadow in food signs.  The lines here are those of a professional sign painter of the old school, confident and practiced.

(Fruit and Vegetable Market.  Cedar Street & Fleetwood Avenue)

Mt. Vernon, New York


Geiger counter is going nuts.  Grand Cafe, Grand Street & Fleetwood Avenue.

Gary, Indiana

“Can I get some hot oysters please?  What do you mean you don’t have them they’re painted right there… oh sorry, I didn’t read the text.  Can I get some chips please?”