Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Bill & Nada’s Cafe

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Bill and Nada's Cafe

Bill and Nada’s Cafe sat right next to Trolley Square. They were a 24 hour restaurant, so they earned a strange cult following. When I was a teenager in the Eighties, Bill and Nada’s was the popular place to go after a drunken night at the local clubs. Everyone told me that I should go there, but when I asked why, all they could say was that it was open late and they served brains and eggs.

Brains and eggs… It wasn’t really a glowing review of the food. It was more like a dare. I could never get them to clarify any further, so I never went there.

I never ate at Bill and Nada’s Cafe. When I hear people lament the loss of Bill and Nada’s Cafe, I consciously control my face so that I don’t roll my eyes at their grief. I hold my tongue instead of saying, “It was just a restaurant, people, and from what I heard, the food wasn’t that good.”

No, when they start reminiscing about Bill and Nada’s I calmly go to my happy place and let them ramble on and on about it. They are ALWAYS shocked that I never ate there. I was so into the punk scene as a teen that they assume that I had enjoyed Bill and Nada’s as well. I smile at them and nod knowingly. I tell them, “It’s a shame they closed down,” even though I don’t really care.

Somehow that place got into the collective unconscious of the Salt Lake City resident. It became more than 2000 square feet of cinder block and neon. I don’t understand it because I never ate there, but I feel the same way about other establishments of my youth. I’m sure it had less to do with the food and more to do with the memories of what happened in that small diner. I just never experienced it, so I can’t wax philisophical about it.

They put a parking lot on the piece of land
Where the supermarket used to stand.
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local palais.
That’s where the big band used to come and play.
My sister went there on a Saturday.

The day they knocked down the palais
My sister stood and cried.
The day they knocked down the palais
Part of my childhood died, just died.

– The Kinks, Come Dancing, 1983



  1. You made me go download Come Dancin.’

    Comment by Gene M — 2/9/2006 @ 8:22 pm

  2. Trying to keep some memories going.

    Comment by Bert Singleton — 10/19/2006 @ 6:38 pm

  3. Hey, no problem on the link! I must say, I do find it kind of funny that you never at at Bill & Nada’s!

    BTW – My hubby is working on his MBA/TM at Westminster, we love it!

    We too LOVE The Blue Plate Diner!

    Comment by Karlyn — 7/25/2007 @ 9:42 pm

  4. I still at it almost 10 years after Bill and Nada’s cafe has been tore down. I have a new site which has a lot of old photo of the people as well as the building as it was coming down. I know a lot of people think, it was just a cafe but it was more than that. It was a meeting place for hundreds of people to come and chit chat with each other daily. Some of those people I haven’t seen now for ten years. A lot of the old timers have died and the people just spread out here and there looknig for another place for chit chatting with new friends but nothing seem to take the place of Bill & Nada’s Cafe.

    Comment by Bert Singleton — 10/26/2007 @ 9:47 am

  5. Best place to be early mornings. Miss it and reminds me of all the fun I had going there!

    Comment by Ronni — 8/1/2010 @ 5:46 pm

  6. My favorite place since I was a teeny tiny kid.. if ANYONE has a clue on a similar waffle recipe to the ones they served I would be ever so grateful. I miss you Bill n Nadas…so much!

    Comment by Sarah — 12/30/2010 @ 2:18 pm

  7. I loved bill and nadas cafe. my mom, her name was bea, work there for quite awhile. me and my brother use to go there to get a glass of coke. my mom been gone for about 18 years, seeing the photo brings back old memorys

    Comment by scott — 4/20/2012 @ 1:21 pm

  8. You missed out! That was place was the best! They Had the best pancakes…i wish i knew how to make them:) and as a little kid i loved the penny gumball machine…seeing the picture was nice. Thanks!

    Comment by Irie — 5/8/2012 @ 12:12 am

  9. I used to live in Denver. Drove through Salt Lake, and I ate there in 1988. I swear I saw James Dean there, and I was given a menu from the staff. I also get a wooden nickel from there. Was the food good? Not really, but it is a place that will never leave my mind.

    Comment by Don — 9/7/2012 @ 8:27 pm

  10. I work there in the 80’s. What is funny and not spoke of too much is Bill had an affair with Maxine that worked there. So Maxine’s husband finds out and shoots Bill two times. Maxine husband then has a heart attack right then and dies. Bill drive himself to the hospital and lives. Crazy and true story.

    Comment by ESumone — 1/4/2013 @ 11:01 pm

  11. I lived in Salt Lake City from 1994-2005, the first five years of that were within walking distance of Trolley Square. I was a big fan of Bill & Nada’s (namely the coffee, breakfast, and atmosphere). I miss the juke boxes that were on each table (haven’t seen those since they tore the place down.)

    Comment by Glenn — 8/8/2013 @ 3:08 pm

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