1936 Gateway article referenced by “The Atlantic”

The Gateway circa 1936. Photo courtesy of Josie Loza.

Jessica Wade
Editor in Chief

A Gateway article from 1936 was referenced by The Atlantic Saturday in an article discussing the origin of “eighty-sixed”, a term used by the Virginia restaurant Red Hen to ask White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the establishment.

The news site may have used an 86-year-old article, but the topic that was discussed has been a current, widely-discussed controversy. After being asked to leave the Red Hen, Sanders tweeted: “Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me.”

In another tweet about the occurrence, Brennan Gilmore, director of the environmental group Clean Virginia, posted what appears to be a note left by the restaurant’s staff, “86—Sara Huckabee Sanders.”

The Atlantic did some digging and found that the term may have started as a code to mean “item on menu not on hand”. The 1936 Gateway article explained:

Girls, if you walk into the drug store and the good-looking guy behind the fountain yells out “PINEAPPLE,” you may feel flattered, as that means, in good English, that he thinks you are a wow, a honey, and a cute little trick.
But, if he hollers “EIGHTY-SIX,” he doesn’t like your type.