Historic Sites of Alton – The Green Lantern restaurant

Green Lantern - historic 2

Green Lantern restaurant, 210 Market Street

Right down the street from the Grand Theatre is the former home of the Green Lantern restaurant. It began as the Green Lantern Sandwich Shoppe in the 1920s. George “Red” Walker bought the Green Lantern when it came up for sale in 1943. Red and his wife, Helen, kept the restaurant running until 1975, when they retired. The Green Lantern, which was also just called “Red’s,” was open from 5:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. six days a week. Since there were only 18 seats, you often ended up eating at a table with strangers, but they usually didn’t stay strangers for long. There were many regulars. The Alton Evening Telegraph building was located nearby, and employees frequented the Green Lantern, especially for coffee breaks. When you paid the tab, you told the waitress what you had eaten, and she charged you accordingly. Red, who was originally from Alabama, cooked things his way, “with plenty of grease and lots of flavor.”

Happy New Year Green LanternGreen Lantern Cafe - now