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. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 09, 2019
“The best restaurant on this block” (restaurant sign joke)

A joke has rival restaurants posting “best restaurant in this city” and “best restaurant in this state” and “best restaurant in this country” signs. Finally, one restaurant puts up a sign: “Best restaurant in this block/street.”

The joke was told by New York City-born actor, singer and comedian Eddie Cantor (1892-1964) in 1932.


Newspapers.com
30 December 1932, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), “Checked and Double-Checked” by Jiminy, pg. 10, cols. 3-4:
Of all jokes we have heard via the radio recently, we like best the one Eddie Cantor pulled about the sorely tried restaurateur....The merchant was losing business because of his rivals’ advertising....The fellow on one side of him had a sign stating it was the best restaurant in the city....The owner on the other side of him had a sign proclaiming that this restaurant was the best in the country....While the fellow across the street put up a placard declaring it as the best restaurant in the world....So Cantor suggested that the first restaurant owner have his own sign made to advertise his place as the “best restaurant in this block.”

Newspapers.com
27 May 1971, Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, PA), “Best restaurant on the block and in the world” by Norton Mockridge, pg. 6, cols. 3-4:
When Jerry gets reminded of something, so do I. His stories remind me of the restaurant that put a sign in its window: “Best restaurant in New York City.” The restaurant across the street retaliated with a sign: “Best restaurant in New York State.”

The first restaurant came back with: “Best restaurant in the U.S.” The second restaurant had a sign painted that read: “Best restaurant in the world.” The first restaurant came back with a massive sign saying: “Best restaurant in the universe!” But the second restaurant wasn’t daunted. It did what it should have done in the first place. It put a sign in the window reading:

“Best restaurant in this block!”

7 July 1984, Orlando (FL) Sentinel, “Hushpuppies” by Ed Hayes, pg. E-2, col. 1:
Which reminds me of the Chinese restaurant owner who hung up a sign reading “World’s Best Restaurant.” The competitor across the street promptly hung his own sign: “Best Restaurant In This Block.”

Seeking Alpha
The Markets Speak: Not Much Is Moving Higher
Oct. 4, 2019 8:31 AM ET
Harry Long
(...)
For the same reason, the Dollar Index has been strong. Reminds me of an old joke that my late father used to tell. There were five restaurants on a street. The first one had a sign that said “the best restaurant in the city.” The second restaurant had a sign that said “the best restaurant in the state.” The third said “the best restaurant in America.” The fourth said “the best restaurant on planet Earth.” The last restaurant had a sign that said “the best restaurant on this street.” If you understand that, then you understand the Dollar Index.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Coffeehouses/Food Stores • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 • Permalink