Pink Cadillacs opens store on 8th Street

Pink Cadillacs bring back the days when malt shops were popular with vintage decor from decades past, including a restored 1957 Dodge Regent

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New businesses and non-profit organizations are opening and moving to Saskatoon regularly. Today, the StarPhoenix speaks with Jon Tyson, who opened a new location for his Pink Cadillacs restaurant last August at the completely renovated former Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse site on 8th Street.

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When you enter the new retro-themed Pink Cadillacs restaurant, you’ll see the front of a 1957 Dodge Regent staring at you. On the side is the rear of the car. Tyson transformed the two sections of the classic car (affectionately known as “White Lightning”) into some of his restaurant’s most popular stalls.

Tyson, who ran German club Concordia, also owns a Pink Cadillacs restaurant in Hampton Village, but was recently forced to close his original location in Willowgrove due to COVID-19 taking a big chunk out of that business. He hopes to reopen there at some point, but if you want to try his vintage car stalls, you’ll have to pay him a visit on 8th Street.

Jon Tyson opened the Pink Cadillacs & T-Bird Lounge on 8th Street in August 2021. The restaurant and lounge harkens back to when malt shops were popular, with vintage decor from decades ago.  PHOTO MICHELLE BERG/Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Jon Tyson opened the Pink Cadillacs & T-Bird Lounge on 8th Street in August 2021. The restaurant and lounge harkens back to when malt shops were popular, with vintage decor from decades ago. PHOTO MICHELLE BERG/Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Q: What can people expect to find at Pink Cadillacs?

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A: Everything here is pretty much 50s and 60s decor. Not just Elvis and Marilyn, but all the big movie stars and musicians. We have images like that everywhere. We have a 1957 car inside 8th street. We have a lot of old stuff from that era. So when people come in, they’re listening to good music in a cool atmosphere and looking around, because there’s so much stuff on the walls.

8th Street is a step up. There is something for every taste. We have a designated living room and a beautiful patio in the summer. There’s a Looney Tunes room from the 50s and 60s that people can book for birthdays or anniversaries, seating 24 people. Even young families with their children come here and there is so much to see. We still have the old cartoons from the 50s and 60s like Popeye, Betty Boop and Roadrunner.

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Once I learned how to make things work and how you could make things better at (the first pink Cadillacs in) Willowgrove, we came here.

Q: What made you choose the name Pink Cadillacs?

A: Because when Elvis made it big, he bought his mom a pink 1957 Cadillac – I guess just to signify he had something to do. The Pink Cadillacs name was something you could play around with so much. And I like the name. It’s catchy. But a pink Cadillac is something I will never own. I couldn’t afford a Cadillac!

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Q: What’s on your menu?

A: Our menu is approximately 99% gluten-free. We make everything from scratch. Our meat is fresh, never frozen. Our burgers are gluten-free. The most important thing is that we prepare all our burgers fresh every day. And there is nothing added. It’s just a 100% ground chuck, so it’s the top end you can buy. We have everything from different cool burgers to hot dogs to a macaroni and cheese dog or a Ritchie V dog. I try to keep everything as much as possible as it used to be, or as I heard it was , but with a twist. Not just a burger, but you will have your pork burger like the Elvis (Doo Wop) Burger. There’s peanut butter and bananas on a pork burger with bacon and it’s delicious.

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But we have something for everyone. And in the living room, we have different drafts at an extremely, extremely reasonable price. Even our food is very, very affordable. Realistically, I should probably increase my prices because everything else has gone up. A kid’s meal is $4 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and that includes a drink and a cookie and our cookies are the size of your face. They’re huge and kids love them because there’s nothing like giving a kid a homemade chocolate chip cookie the size of your face. And we also do the old-fashioned milkshakes, where it’s actually made with really hard ice cream.

Q: Do you have a signature menu item?

A: Our Caddy Burger is one of our most popular, and that’s because we make our own caddy sauce here. It’s almost like a bison relish. There is a bit of spice. And of course there’s the patty and the bacon and the cheddar cheese and the onion rings, the lettuce, the tomato. This is probably our biggest and most popular burger.

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Q: Do you serve breakfast?

A: Yeah, our breakfast menu is only $7 and that gets you a traditional (meal) – we call it a Dream Lovers breakfast. It’s bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast. And our hash browns are homemade, they’re not like grated ones. They are actually red potatoes. We cook our potatoes and then pan fry them.

Q: What sets you apart from other restaurants?

A: Our greatest asset is the atmosphere. You want to have that wow factor. You want people to come up and say, “Hey, that’s great! We haven’t seen anything like it. In fact, I’ve been here since 1989 in Saskatoon and there’s been nothing like it, to this point anyway. You put all the best things together and you have “here”. Hopefully everyone who comes here finds something they want to revisit. Something to remember.

Q: Are you still hoping to reopen your Willowgrove location?

A: If all goes as planned, we will reopen Willowgrove, but just as a breakfast and coffee for mum for now. I wouldn’t do the 50s style diner in there. I was trying to do that with different types of coffees and that sort of thing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Jon Tyson inside Pink Cadillacs & T-Bird Lounge on 8th Street.  PHOTO MICHELLE BERG/Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Jon Tyson inside Pink Cadillacs & T-Bird Lounge on 8th Street. PHOTO MICHELLE BERG/Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Pink Cadillacs and T-Bird Lounge

Owner:

Jon Tyson

Address:

2600 – 8th Street East, #340

Hours:

Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Website:

www.pinkcadillacsdiner.com

To verify:

Facebook, Instagram

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