picThe Restaurant

Cameo / Candlelight Lounge

pic1970 Dutch Mason Trio Album Cover

NilsClausson writes: The Cameo Lounge at 5511 Spring Garden Road was another straight bar frequented by gays; it tried to "cleanse" itself of undesirable gays, whom they feared were driving away straight customers. I remember JohnMarr and I and another gay man whose name I've forgotten, being refused service there the grounds that the young man was "under age." John tells me that the restaurant was called the Cameo Dining Room and that the lounge attached to it was called the Candlelight Lounge, and that is consistent with my memory as well.

Doug Brown (WayvesMagazine staff) writes: the Cameo Restaurant was in 5511 Spring Garden Road. The Candlelight Lounge was one door east at 5507. The restaurant had a regular table setup in the front and fancy (linen tablecloths, fancy table setting, candles) in the back. To get seated in the nice part, one asked to go "up back".

John Poulos whose father owned the Cameo Restaurant, writes: The Cameo Soda Grill as it was known then was opened by my Papou - grandfather in Greek in 1928. Through the years it consisted of a soda fountain in the front where you sat on swivel seats complete with its iconic red seat, chrome bands and column You looked at a row of gleaming sundae and milkshake containers. Featuring milkshakes, cherry cokes, root beer floats, hot fudge sundaes, malted milkshakes and of course banana splits. Three scopes of ice cream with an array of different sauces but usually chocolate, strawberry, and butterscotch with real whipped cream and topped off with a maraschino cherry. In the back were two sections of dining tables with two set of tables in each section.

In 1960, the store closed for a year during which time it was completely gutted and enlarged from the front doors to the back. Gone were the soda grill, the dining tables, the kitchen, the downstairs where the waitress changed, the fridge and freezer and the storage rooms. What emerged was truly a phoenix - The Cameo. There were two sections: one with tables in the front and the second section where you stepped up into a bona fide dining area. Flanked by high backed seats with tables on either side of the room and tables and chairs in the middle. Beautiful chandeliers and soft lighting made you feel you were in a special place. And indeed you were. The food and service was exemplary. Added to the restaurant was The !Candlelight Lounge with live music on the weekends and a host of local talent. Judging from the comments and likes, The Cameo meant something to so many people. A birthday, an anniversary, a first date, a graduation, a quiet night out or simply a time to enjoy a special evening. Memories: that was the Cameo.1

Mentioned by AnneFulton in BeforeTheParade p 30.

Newspaper ad copied from Facebook Nova Scotia - Memories of Days Gone By posting January 22, 2023 by Bob McFetridge?

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1. January 3, 2024 Bob Gillis post in "Old Halifax and Nova Scotia Pictures" FB group