1980s Video Introduces Us To Waitresses At Canter's And Du-par's

A fantastic recently-unearthed video lets us peer almost 30 years back in time to hear from the endearingly surly waitresses at two L.A. institutions.

In this short gem of a video segment known as "Meet the Waitresses," reporter Merrill Markoe interviews some of the current and former waitresses of Canter's and Du-par's, circa 1986. The responses she receives are nothing short of hilarious. In the video, the women share their thoughts on working as a waitress and their pet peeves about customers, including terrible table manners.

Seated at a booth in Canter's Deli, one 20-year-vet of the restaurant shares her pointed observations on the iconic landmark. "The food is delightful, if you can swallow it," she says. She goes on to share her tongue-in-cheek thoughts on the reputation of restaurant's waitresses, "The waitresses are great, they're all old-time hookers or drunks." Evelyne, another subject of the video who at the time had been working at Du-par's for 33 years, recalls the time a rain-soaked customer asked to dry her pantyhose in the kitchen. And Mary, a 32-year-vet of Canter's, shares the annoying habits of her regulars, including "the elderly who wash their teeth in the chicken noodle soup."

"MEET THE WAITRESSES": Here is another one of my "reports" from NEWS13 KCOP/LA, circa 1986. This one is a portrait of the waitresses at Cantor's and DuPar's....two classic L.A. dining experiences then and now.But these ladies were just so GREAT! (attention: Mimi Pond )

Posted by Merrill Markoe on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The three-minute segment is part of a series Markoe created for KCOP LA, known as "Merrill's L.A." Markoe also interviewed limo drivers, guys who cut hair in Beverly Hills, and "the guy who invented the chili dog," among others—and we can't wait until those clips are unearthed. In the meantime, we'll settle for this great portrait of these dyed-in-the-wool waitresses.

(h/t: Hidden Los Angeles)

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly suggested that the videos were 20 years old, instead of nearly 30 years old. We apologize for the error.