We are happy to serve you

Designer Leslie Buck, the man who gave us the iconic blue-and-white paper coffee cup, died last week at age 87.

Long before Starbucks go-cup and sleeve arrived, New Yorkers stopped into one of the city’s Greek-owned diners for their morning cup of joe. More often then not, they would take their coffee away in Buck’s “Anthora Cup.” It became synonymous with New York City.

Buck designed the cup in the early 1960s to appeal to Greek diner owners who often bought his products. He adorned the cup with the phrase “We are happy to serve you,” and drawings of three cups, two Greek Amphora vases and the color of the Greek flag.

Iconic coffee cup, New York icon, pop culture, coffee culture, Anthora cup, New York institution

The Anthora Cup has been a prop fixture in NYC TV shows including Law & Order and many feature films about the city. The design became so iconic and entrenched in New York pop culture that it was licensed for manufacture as a ceramic cup and a change purse.

The cup hit its zenith in 1994 with 500 million in sales. Demand for the paper cup started dropping off in 2001, and manufacturer Solo officially discontinued the product in its catalog in 2006. Fret not though, the Anthora Cup can still be custom ordered.

It was our pleasure to be served.

Images: 1/Ceramic cup and 3/Change purse product shots from MoMA Online Store. 2/Genuine paper cups and lids © Solo

One Response to “We are happy to serve you”

  1. lg Says:

    Iconic is right. No matter what city you were in, no matter what kind of eating establishment, there was a sense of warmth and hominess when the hot coffee or tea arrived in that cup.

    I guess it is a testimony to its place in history that the design crossed industries from the restaurant biz to fashion and home design.

    Good for Buck — it truly has been our pleasure being served.

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