Manley’s was not famous for its lavish menu, or its white tablecloths, or its wine list. It didn’t have any of those things. It did have a rickety screen door, plastic burger baskets, a Wrigley’s gum rack, leatherette stools, and a linoleum pattern worn away to nothing by thousands of feet. Manley’s had good food and plenty of it.
The original name of the café was Manley’s Garden Café, then Manley’s Rose Garden Café. Outdoor seating was available for a time if one wanted to enjoy the roses. The garden eventually became not so garden-ish, and the outdoor seating went away.
The owners were Manley Morrow and his wife Marjorie. They opened the place in 1954. Marjorie passed away in January of 1960, leaving Manley to run it himself.
Manley was philosophically against having anyone that came through the door leaving hungry. Order a piece of pie and you got a quarter of a pie. Do you want that ala mode? Manley or one of his crew would plop a pint of ice cream on top of it.
Some famous folk stopped by Manley’s. Many Idaho governors ate there, as did a future president. John F. Kennedy was said to have stopped by when he was running for president. Tim Woodward, long-time reporter and columnist, remembered the time when he took New York Times writer and food critic Calvin Trillin to Manley’s. In an April 18, 2013 piece in the Idaho Statesman, Woodward quoted Trillin as saying, "Every town I go to, they take me to the restaurant in the glass ball on the top floor of the tallest building in town," he said. "The prices are outrageous, and the food is awful. This place is great!"
Manley Morrow passed away in 1976. His son, David, took over and ran the place for a while, then sold it to a couple of the Manley’s waitresses. They ran it until 1997 when it closed for good. The site of the café is now Terry Day Park at 1225 Federal Way.