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 December 22, 2013
Happy Waitress (grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato)

The “Happy Waitress” is a diner classic dish that consists of an open-face grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and bacon, usually served with a side order of french fries. The dish has been popular in New Jersey and New York, but its origins are unknown.

The “Happy Waitress” has been served since at least the 1970s.


Google Books
Jersey Diners
By Peter Genovese
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press
1996
Pg. 211:
We are talking, of course, about the happy waitress: grilled American cheese, bacon and tomato. Here’s Chris’s theory on the name’s origins: “Long time way back, 1918, one of the owners of a diner in New Jersey used to go out with one of the waitresses. That waitress would come in very happy every morning. That’s why he called [the sandwich] the Happy Waitress.”

Like I said, it’s a theory.

everything2
Happy Waitress
(thing) by Modnar Fri Oct 06 2000 at 17:13:49
You can order a Happy Waitress at one of the two Double T Diners near Baltimore, Maryland. The happy waitress is basically an open face grilled cheese sandwich. It consists of two pieces of grilled white bread, some melty American cheese, bacon, and tomato slices. It generally comes with french fries and sometimes a pickle.

Clubplanet Nightlife Community Forum
Thread: Why is it called a “Happy Waitress?”
tommyarmani
06-02-02, 06:46 PM
i have a freind who is greek & of course his family owns a diner. So i posed the question to him about the happy waitress, so he could shed some light onto this dilema. many years ago, there was “mom & pop” type of diner in Hollywood CA where all the celebs used to go. There was a waitress there that everyone said had one of the most dnyamic personalites ever & of course also was one of the “Happiest” people ever. The diners specialty was grilled chees & bacon. So everyone would refer to it as the place with the happy waitress that served gill chees & bacon sandwiches. so for short, they would say “lets get a happy waitress”.......... hope this helps.

New York (NY) Times
September 14, 2007
A Diner for Rent, With Many Memories to Tell
By TINA KELLEY
When it opened on the corner of 43rd Street and 11th Avenue in 1962, the Market Diner was one of the biggest of its kind in New York City.
(...)
It was the kind of place, some say, where if you asked for a special known as the Happy Waitress, all you got was a gruff, “She quit,” followed, in short order, by an open grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato, plus fries on the side.

Twitter
Amy Chorew
‏@amychorew
Happy waitress special grilled cheese yum! (@ The Olympic Diner) http://4sq.com/bF1Skn
11:18 AM - 27 May 10

Judy’s Gross Eats
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Happy Waitress
(...)
COMMENTS
Joey said…
A little late to the party here, but you could get a Happy Waitress sandwich at diners in NJ, way back into the 70s. So to some that are saying this is a great creation, it’s been around a LONG time. And why they never thought of bacon on grilled cheese, which I’ve been eating since I was a kid, again, way back into the 70s, I’ll never know. Maybe it’s a Jersey diner thing, and it takes the rest of the world a little to catch up. wink
May 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Twitter
The Hub
‏@hubtacoma
The daily special today is something we call the “Happy Waitress”!! Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and bacon grilled on… http://fb.me/WbxtPvIG
6:55 PM - 10 Dec 11

Google Books
Ruminations of a Catholic School Girl
By Vicki Lindgren Rimasse
Sarasota, FL: First Edition Design Pub.
2012
Pg. ?:
Every diner, however, seems to serve a sandwich called “The Happy Waitress” which is an open‐faced toasted cheese sandwich with or without bacon and tomatoes.

The Foodies at Work
Roscoe Diner and the Happy Waitress
By A-TOOCH | Published: MARCH 19, 2013
If you have ever traveled on Rt. 17 through upstate NY, you are well aware that it is the most barren, depressing road trip you can make. Until you hit the Roscoe Diner.

On a recent trip I got my usual Happy Waitress — grilled cheese with bacon and tomatoes. Duh. Diner classic.

Twitter
Eugene LordsALeaping
‏@eventi
@lilisalzberg @ellievhall @catesish @ryanpbroderick have you guys ever had a happy waitress? It’s grilled cheese with bacon and tomato
Reply Retweet Favorite More
4:55 PM - 30 Jul 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, December 22, 2013 • Permalink