Nat Bailey

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Nat Bailey in 1961
Nat Bailey
Born (1902-01-31)January 31, 1902
St. Paul, Minnesota
Died March 27, 1978(1978-03-27) (aged 76)
Occupation Founder of White Spot

Nathaniel Ryal Bailey (January 31, 1902 – March 27, 1978), better known as Nat Bailey, was an American-born Canadian restaurateur best known for building the first drive-in restaurant in Canada, in 1928, and developing the first car-hop tray. His chain of White Spot restaurants continues to thrive today.

Biography[edit]

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Bailey moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1913. He started his business career selling peanuts during games at the Vancouver Forum. He expanded his business by adding hot drinks and hamburgers. When the Forum's roof collapsed in 1934, he built a type of log cabin White Spot at 70th and Granville in Vancouver's Marpole district.

The logs were painted white and the ends painted green. This was the first drive-in in Canada. The car-hops wore green uniforms with Naugahyde captain's caps, and a white stripe down the pant leg. Nat's specially designed tray fit between the car's window sills. He became famous for his hamburgers, which used Nat's "secret sauce", which was rumoured to be Thousand Island dressing mixed with mayonnaise, but he never revealed the recipe.

It has been reported that, as the condiments used came in large containers, he poured the excess dill pickle juice into the depleted mayonnaise jars, then put this mixture into the depleted ketchup containers, then added the relish from the depleted relish containers, to which was added the juice and residue from the slicing of tomatoes, adding the resultant mixture to a commercial Thousand Island dressing.

When a customer desired extra sauce on their burger, the waiter/car-hop would squiggle three O’s on the order slip to notify the kitchen. This has evolved into the current copyrighted “Triple-O Sauce” and Triple-O’s Restaurants owned by White Spot Restaurants.

Later, Nat became famous for his "Chicken Pickens" and "Chicken In The Straw." This was long before the Colonel and KFC were on the scene. Nat built several of the drive-ins throughout Vancouver and Victoria. He sold the chain to General Foods when he retired as a famous restaurateur and community sports supporter.

Bailey was a Freemason, and supporter of the Marpole Rotary Club, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

Sports involvement[edit]

Bailey was also a supporter of little league baseball in the city of Vancouver and was a part owner of the Vancouver Mounties professional team. His love of the game was commemorated with the renaming of Capilano Stadium to Nat Bailey Stadium after his death in 1978. The reasons for his death are unknown. Nat Bailey Stadium is currently the home of the Vancouver Canadians, a short season Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

External links[edit]

  • Bio - Grand Lodge of BC & Yukon records