A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 18, 2016
“Eat here or we will both starve” (restaurant sign)

"Eat here or we will both starve” is a jocular sign that has appeared at many pubs and restaurants. The sign has been popular for a very long time, and has been spotted all over the United States and in the United Kingdom. “Eat here or we’ll both starve” was cited in 1917 from a restaurant in Sauk City, Wisconsin.


19 February 1917, Rockford (IL) Republic, “Hit and Run,” pg. 6, col. 2:
A new electric sign has been put up in front of a beanery at Sauk City, Wis. It reads: “Eat here or we’ll both starve.”

8 August 1921, Bemidji (MN) Daily Pioneer, “The ‘Twentieth Century’ Limited,” pg. 6, col. 1:
The Naked Truth
A sign on the awning of a Bemidji restaurant reads, “Eat Here or We’ll Both Starve.” Just think what a calamity it might be if the “or” was to be taken for “and.”

9 November 1923, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 22, col. 5:
COMMERCIAL CANDOR
(New Elk Hotel, Schaller, Ia.)
EAT HERE, OR WE WILL BOTH STARVE.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
22 June 1927, Buffalo (NY) Evening News, “Around the Town” by Ed Scanlan, pg. 20, col. 2:
BE THAT AS it may, writes Ethel M. S., of Kenmore, there is a sign in front of a way-side restaurant down in Pennsylvania, reading:

EAT HERE
OR WE’LL BOTH
STARVE.

Google News Archive
8 March 1928, Rock Rapids (IA) Review, pg. 8, col. 1 ad:
If you don’t eat here we will both; starve.
PANTRY LUNCH

26 February 1931, Springfield (MA) Weekly Republican, pg. 12, col. 2:
(Stray Bits.)
Sign in a Kansas restaurant window: “Come in and Eat or We’ll Both Starve.”

Google News Archive
10 October 1935, Owosso (MI) Argus-Press, “In New York” by Paul Harrison, pg. 4, col. 5:
Sign on a midtown restaurant plate glass: ‘If You Don’T Eat, We’ll Both Starve.”

14 November 1935, Boston (MA) Globe, “Signs on the Road,” pg. 12, col. 8:
In Wyoming was a sign: “Eat Here or We Will Both Starve.”

Google News Archive
26 December 1956, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Laughs With the Signs,” pg. 23, col. 1:
In restaurant window: Come in and eat or we’ll both starve.

Google News Archive
11 July 1957, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, ‘Morals and Manners,” pg. 9, col. 2:
Schulman. 54, has substituted a new sign in his window. It reads: “If you don’t eat here we’ll both starve.”

Google Groups: rec.scuba
Mail Order (was: Warning on Berry Scuba)
Nicholas J. Simicich
3/27/92
(...)
Noel Veroba of Orbit Marine in Conn. actually gives a lecture to his students entitled, “Eat here or we’ll both starve.” There was a restaurant in the area that had built a waterside park, and people would come to picnic there.  They put up this sign.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Restaurant Jokes…
George E. Herrera Jr
12/12/94
Here’s one to get things started…
I was traveling through Oregon on highway 1 and I was really hungry.  We passed a sign that said “Roadside Cafe, 80 miles.  Eat here or we’ll both starve.”

We passed another sign that said “Roadside Cafe, 30 miles.  Eat here or we’ll both starve.”

“Roadside Cafe, 2 miles.  Eat here or we’ll both starve.”

“Roadside Cafe.”

The restaurant was boarded up.

Google Groups: microsoft.public.inetexplorer.ie4.outlookexpress.stationery
Actual signs and advertisements :>)
Mildred Savalier
6/28/98
“Boy required to open oysters about 16 years old.”
- “If you don’t eat here, we will both starve!”
- “Thirst come; thirst served.”

Google Groups: alt.games.asherons-call
OT - Mishta Humo
Leon Litefoot
6/2/00
(...)
Actual signs and advertisements

- “Boy required to open oysters about 16 years old.”
- “If you don’t eat here, we will both starve!”
- “Thirst come; thirst served.”

Twitter
wickemt
‏@wickemt
Billboard outside backwater restaurant: eat here or We’ll both starve
3:39 PM - 21 Mar 2008

Twitter
Lars Kongshem
‏@lars_kongshem
Restaurant sign, Maui: “Come in and eat or we’ll both starve!”
8:24 PM - 22 Nov 2008

Twitter
Jacques Cool
‏@zecool
Best roadside sign ever seen, on deserted Yukon highway, just north of Carcross: “Eat here or we will both starve!” But we kept on driving.
5:23 PM - 19 May 2009

Twitter
Joshua Valin
‏@Ave_Sin_Nido
“Come and eat or we will both starve.” -slogan for a now closed eatery on University Hill in Boulder, courtesy of my department’s chair
10:55 AM - 12 Dec 2009

Mirror (UK)
‘Eat here or we will both starve!’ 12 of the funniest pub chalkboards
10:22, 22 JUN 2015 UPDATED 12:27, 22 JUN 2015
BY EMMA MOUNTFORD
It seems the fine people of Manchester have been long-standing supporters of enticing customers with witty and amusing creations

Twitter
Nita Motwani
‏@NiMoSpeak
A note outside the restaurant
“EAT HERE or we will both starve”
The owner
1:28 AM - 14 Jun 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Monday, July 18, 2016 • Permalink