New L & N Cafe
The New L & N Cafe and Sandwich Shop was a bar and diner located at 100 19th Street North in the Molton-Henley Retail Block on the northwest corner of 19th Street and 1st Avenue North (the former O'Briens Opera House site). The lunch counter, open since the 1930s, was operated by the Balabanos family. After the death of Nick Balabanos, his widow Marica kept it open.
Around 1973 his nephews, Chris and Alex Kontos took over. A regular workingman's lunch counter by day, the cafe began welcoming a counter-cultural crowd at night. A painted window sign urged passersby to "come in out of the rain, and into the rainbow". Black lights came on at night and bartenders spun folk, blues and rock records and eventually a few live performances were scheduled, with bands packing onto a tiny plywood stage propped up in a display window. Ross Kellerman's artist studio was upstairs.
The retail block was shuttered and demolished in the 1990s and is now a parking lot.
- White, Marjorie Longenecker (1977) Downtown Birmingham: Architectural and Historical Walking Tour Guide. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society.
- Recollections by Craig Legg and Marion Jones (February 4, 2011) on Facebook.com