Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah Crime & Courts
Tribune Justice Reporters
By Tribune Justice Reporters

Subscribe (RSS)




(Jim Dalrymple | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Chestnut Tree Cafe, apparently named for its counterpart in the book "1984," is located in Salt Lake City's Matheson Courthouse.
The dystopian origins of Salt Lake City’s courthouse restaurant

During a recent visit to Salt Lake City’s Matheson Courthouse — a popular destination for those of us on The Tribune justice desk — I entered through back door and notice something intriguing: The Chestnut Tree Cafe.

I had seen the cafe before, but for some reason it wasn’t until this visit that I realized that’s also the name of the cafe in George Orwell’s dystopian classic "1984." If you can still remember from your high school reading list, The Chestnut Tree Cafe is where protagonist Winston Smith goes after his torture and release from the Ministry of Truth. He’s a broken man by the time he gets there. The name also comes up in a song Smith recalls that includes the lyrics, "Under the spreading chestnut tree/I sold you and you sold me."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The cafe is a prominent and important part of the book, so when I noticed the name of the courthouse cafe — and didn’t notice any chestnut trees nearby — I figured there must be a connection.

So I called Jim Barclay, who owns and operates the cafe. Barclay laughed and said "no comment" when I asked him about the "1984" reference, but he added that some of the judges have noticed the connection.

Barclay — who also runs the Broadway Deli — opened the cafe about three years ago. It is located at 450 S. State St. and operates Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Barclay said it’s known to have a good breakfast. Lunch menu items include sandwiches and soups, which after having written this and looked closely at the menu, I’m excited to try.

And in case you’re wondering, the Salt Lake City version thankfully lacks the bleak, dystopian flavor of the one in "1984" — though given its location I’m sure more than a few patrons have sat at its tables wondering about Big Brother.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.