[Retro Roadmap] The Lunch Counter at Sine’s 5&10 Cent Store in Quakertown, Pa.

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Beth Lennon 17 Comments

Written by Beth Lennon, “Mod Betty” of RetroRoadmap.com

The lunch counter at Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store in Quakertown, Pa. Credit: like, totally on Flickr
The lunch counter at Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store in Quakertown, Pa.

In the heart of Quakertown, Pa. -- just an hour north of Philadelphia -- the cheery red exterior of Sine’s 5&10 Cent Store has been the gem in the crown of the downtown district for over 100 years.

It's not only a variety store where you can still buy everything from notebook paper and sewing notions to toys and hardware supplies, but you can also enjoy a meal or a sweet ice cream treat at their popular lunch counter and soda fountain.

From your swivel stool at the counter you’ll see many generations of the Harr family hard at work in the store, which has been in continuous operation by the same family since the store opened in 1912. Whether cooking your breakfast or lunch, operating the cash register, or prepping the displays of the latest merchandise to arrive, this is a family affair.

Daily specials are featured on the mirrored menu board on the backsplash and include homemade soups and lunch platters, as well as the expected burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Regional favorites scrapple and pork roll round out the breakfast menu.

The counter, anchored on the far end by an original Hires Root Beer barrel, is the gathering place for shoppers and family members alike. From regulars who meet for breakfast and the latest local news, to folks who travel from afar for the nostalgia of eating at one of the last remaining dime stores in the state, there’s a place for everyone at Sine’s.

Check out these photos from the Sine's lunch counter:

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store, Quakertown, Pa. Lunch Counter Exterior. RetroRoadmap.com. Credit: Beth Lennon

Family-owned and operated since 1912, Sine’s facade was updated in 1956 with this still-striking red exterior.

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store, Quakertown, Pa. Lunch Counter. RetroRoadmap.com. Credit: Beth Lennon

Even if you’re not a regular at Sine’s, you can pick from one of the many mugs that are lined up behind the counter.

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store, Quakertown, Pa. Lunch Counter Menu RetroRoadmap.com. Credit: Beth Lennon

Open for breakfast and lunch until 2 p.m. and ice cream until the store closes, the counter is the place to grab a meal or a quick bite.

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store, Quakertown, Pa. Lunch Counter Interior. RetroRoadmap.com. Credit: Beth Lennon

Not only a full service store, Sine’s is also an unofficial museum of retail history and vintage ephemera, courtesy of the collections of patriarch Bill Harr.

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store, Quakertown, Pa. Lunch Counter Sandwich RetroRoadmap.com. Credit: Beth Lennon

Whethere you’re looking for a hearty meal or a simple sandwich and cup of coffee, you’ll find it served with care on the vintage restaurant china still in use at Sine’s.

Want to Visit Sine's?

Sine's 5 & 10 Cent Store
236-240 W. Broad St.
Quakertown, PA 18951

Ed. note: We're pleased to welcome Mod Betty to PreservationNation! Over the next few weeks, she'll be sharing a series on older and historic lunch counters along the East Coast. For more great heritage travel recommendations, check out her blog, RetroRoadmap.com.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

Pop Culture, Travel

17 Responses

  1. Tammy O.

    October 5, 2013

    Three cheers for Mod Betty and for Sine’s! Terrific photos. Makes me want a grilled cheese right now.

  2. Larry Cultrera

    October 5, 2013

    this account by my friend Beth (Mod Betty) should make anyone want to visit this classic emporium! There cannot be too many of these places left.

  3. Howard Piotkow

    October 5, 2013

    Thanks Beth! This is great, I had no idea it existed. I’ll be heading there soon for a grilled cheese and a chocolate coke. I’m bringing my camera too.

  4. Howard Pitkow

    October 5, 2013

    Thanks Beth! This is great, I had no idea it existed. I’ll be heading there soon for a grilled cheese and a chocolate coke. I’m bringing my camera too.
    *I misspelled my name the first time. I hope the powers to be see this and remove it.

  5. John Young

    October 5, 2013

    Wow, what a gem! Thanks, ModBetty, you always find the BEST stuff!

  6. Bob Sossamon

    October 5, 2013

    Thanks Mod Betty For the story and photos of such a neat place that we all wish we had more of. I envy you having all that fun!

  7. Mark Eichelberger

    October 5, 2013

    I live about 10 miles from Quakertown, but confess that I was unaware of Sines until I read Mod Betty’s blog on the store and the lunch counter. Since then, my partner and I have made a point of stopping in at Sines if we make the trek to Quakertown. This store is truly a treasure. It is like a step back in time. We love it.

  8. Lynette

    October 5, 2013

    If I were near here, I’d head right over and find myself a seat at the counter, order some food and drink, enjoy it, and then browse and browse and browse. First, though, I’d ask permission to take photos of this wonderful oasis of Americana. Thanks for this fine post, Mod Betty and Preservation Nation.

  9. Stefanie Klavens

    October 5, 2013

    I’m always looking for interesting places to visit when I’m driving from New England down to Maryland. I’ll definitely have to make a trip to Sine’s!

  10. Chip Guesman

    October 5, 2013

    Great post! May very well be worth a road trip!

  11. Tony Zarak

    October 5, 2013

    Wonderful article, and some top notch photos to boot. Nice job Beth.

  12. Janet

    October 5, 2013

    This took me back to a vague memory I have as a child and my grams taking me to the Woolworths counter. I swear it happened but then Woolworths was gone – – I truly hope to visit Sine’s sit on the counter stool and have a grilled cheese, a soda and a flashback!! Thank you Mod Betty!

  13. Mel

    October 5, 2013

    Great article! Very insightful! I want to go back tomorrow!

  14. William Campbell

    October 6, 2013

    Nice to see and will now have to make a trip to see this local landmark.

  15. Adam Smith

    October 6, 2013

    Beth has a wonderful photostream over on Flickr as well.

  16. bob showalter

    October 6, 2013

    great nostalgic store. Christmas is one of the best times to go. they have a huge assortment at reasonable prices. the candy selection is one of the best around. you will see some you haven’t had since you were a kid.

  17. Jodi Summers

    October 6, 2013

    Thanks for the head’s up.
    Will definitely make a trip there on my spring journey to PA.