The Toddle House was a national chain restaurant, founded in Memphis in 1932, specializing in breakfast and open 24/7. The tiny buildings were built according to the same plan, each with a short counter with a row of ten stools. Payment for the food was on the honor system, with customers depositing their checks and the correct amount of money in a box by the door on the way out. A large part of their business was take-out.
The first Winston-Salem Toddle House opened in 1939, and was located on the corner of West Fourth and Broad Street (814 West Fourth Street), where Modern Chevrolet was later built. Caffe Prada occupied this space in the large apartment building for several years. The business changed hands and is known as West End Coffeehouse today.
The restaurant was moved from the Fourth and Broad location to a lot on the corner of West Fourth and Brookstown Avenue.
The Toddle House Restaurant was located at 878 West Fourth Street (shown above) and was particularly known for its pies. All of the pies were homemade on the premises. In fact, the operator of the business, W. Henry Dillon, claimed that uniformity was the key to the sustainability of the Toddle House business. All of the recipes used the same ingredients and the same amounts in all of their recipes. Nothing was pre-cooked or bought already prepared. Mr. Dillon made the comment in 1961, “We sell certainly as much pie as almost anybody else in town. They’re what we’re famous for.”
The photo above shows the newly renovated Toddle House after a $55,000 facelift and expansion in 1961. Three booths were added that could seat 12 people, along with a new front with large plate glass windows and fancy iron grillwork. This location also did a lot of takeout, with Wake Forest students sometimes ordering food, then sending a taxi to pick it up and deliver it to them.
In 1962, the Toddle House chain was purchased by Dobbs House, which also owned and operated the Steak and Egg restaurant. It existed as Steak and Egg until the mid-1970s when the chain closed nationally. Since that time, it operated as Jason and Mary’s Cafe, West End Cafe, Bella Capri Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, Camel City Cafe, and Scooter’s Deli. Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro opened in 2008 and continues to operate in the building today, shown in the photo below.
The Butterscotch Cream Pie recipe was printed in the Winston-Salem Journal, attributed to a woman who worked at the Toddle House Restaurant.
Toddle House Butterscotch Cream Pie
Be sure to read the notes at the end of the recipe.
1 package butterscotch pudding mix (4-serving size). Note: the recipe did not mention instant pudding, so it must be the kind that requires cooking.
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, heated until golden brown
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 baked pastry shell
1/2 heavy whipping cream, whipped
1. Prepare pudding according to package directions, using the two cups milk. Stir in brown sugar, melted browned butter, and vanilla. Cover surface of pudding with waxed paper and chill.
2. Beat chilled pudding mixture with a spoon until smooth. Pour into pastry shell. Top with whipped cream. Keep refrigerated.
Notes: The recipe was printed as originally published. I used the Butterscotch Jell-O Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling, but the Instant version might work as well. The recipe called for covering the pudding with waxed paper, but I used plastic-wrap. I also used about 4 oz. Cool Whip rather than making the whipped cream, and covered the pie with the Cool Whip. You could also just use a dollop of the Cool Whip or whipping cream on each piece of pie.
Enjoy this recipe that was savored by many generations of Winston-Salem residents.
Black and white photographs courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.
Color images courtesy of Molly Grogan Rawls.
Stay tuned for the next post on November 1st.