Where did Victoria Station, the 1970s restaurant chain, go? VS-insider Tom Blake reveals all in this fast-moving, fascinating, narrative nonfiction business/memoir titled Prime Rib and Boxcars: Whatever Happened to Victoria Station?
Chapter titles tantalize the appetite: “Gin Over,” “Madison Square Garden,” “Rack of Lamb,” “Crunchy Blue Cheese,” “Lunch at the Mandarin,” “Don’t Fart,” “Blatant Sexual Behavior,” “The Pronged-Horn Antelope,” “Man in Black,” “Nashville,” “Wool Over Wall Street,” “Pebble Beach Naked,” “Andy Rooney Goes to Dinner,” “San Quentin,” “Heads Roll” and “You’re not IBM,” to name a few.
Read the book before it becomes a movie. Or will it be a television series?
“I just finished your outstanding story about Victoria Station and your career therein. It was great reading: poignant, thanks to your sharing your personal involvement with the company and the colorful individuals therein (I wonder if Debbie ever got over her experience at Cookie's going away party?????); a great look at corporate America in the 70's; and a wonderful insight to Johnny Cash...what a great singer and fine gentleman. Thank you for setting the record straight on whether Johnny actually spent time in prison - although like you, it would have made no difference to me.
BTW, as for "Whatever Happened to Victoria Station", I'm reading one of John Grisham's best sellers now ("The Broker"). Tom, it would be difficult to tell you which book I've enjoyed more this month, yours or Grisham's!! As far as I'm concerned, that puts you in fine company!! Since we both spent time in the airline industry before/after deregulation in 1979, I couldn't help but think of the parallels between VS and Braniff Airlines...both grew too fast and tried to go too far.
More Books By
The author is Orange County Register columnist Tom Blake, who worked for Victoria Station from 1970 — 1978. Tom was in the Operations Department as a manager and regional manager for four years, and then was the company’s Director of Marketing for four years.
Most employees who worked for Victoria Station feel that it was the greatest experience in their lives. The book recaptures the glory days of the one time fastest-growing company in the United States in the 1970s. Dennis Utley, a commercial airline pilot living in Dallas, says, “My days at Victoria Station Memphis are fondly remembered — I met my wife of 24 years while working there.”
This is a personal and revealing story about Tom Blake’s pursuit of the American dream in the 1970s. From a small Midwestern town, Tom found in Victoria Station his dream job working for the most-admired restaurant chain in the country. It describes Tom’s experiences of trying to climb the corporate ladder, often succeeding, sometimes failing.
This Book is about the employees who made the experience special. It’s about working hard, playing harder, after-hours parties, getting laid, not getting laid, Johnny Cash, Lynn Swann, Ed Marinaro, 49ers Coach Bill Walsh and many others. To read the foreword by S.F. restaurateur Perry Butler Read it Here.
By reading the book, you will understand why the Victoria Station train ride came to an all too early end. Too bad, it didn’t have to be that way.
The Johnny Cash I Knew.
A Kind and Caring Man
Tom had the pleasure of working with Johnny Cash for two years in the 1970s. He got to know him well. He was with Johnny in all kinds of situations--in the House of Cash recording studio, backstage multiple times, in his Sahara Tahoe guest house, riding in limos, at dinner often in the author's Victoria Station restaurants, amongst hundreds of fans, performing live in San Quentin Prison--in places very few people were privileged to be with him. The author co-produced with Johnny an album of train songs. Johnny was always kind and considerate, a true gentleman.
In the years since the author worked with him, he has read and seen many things that disparaged Cash's character and overplayed Johnny's addictions and behavior. The author never saw any evidence of that. The author felt the way Johnny was portrayed in the movie Walk the Line was a misrepresentation of the man he knew as Johnny Cash.
He wrote this book to show the soft, mellow, kind side of this warm and loving man. 17 pictures are included in the text.