Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"They loved us at Chicken Manor"

1973 Elyria Phone Book ad
When I saw this yellow page ad (above) for Chicken Manor recently while doing research at the library, I had to chuckle. But before you think I'm a dumb cluck, let me explain.

Back here, I told you how in the mid-1970s, I was a trumpeter/trombonist with the Four Links, a dance/polka band made up of high school students from Avon Lake and Lorain (including my friend Bob Berstling). My recruitment for the band came about because their trumpeter had gone off to college.

To help me learn the tunes and get me up to speed, we practiced a couple times a week. During these sessions, the other Links would regale me – as the new guy – with stories about various gigs.

I'll never forget that the one gig they got misty-eyed about was the time they played Chicken Manor.

"They loved us at Chicken Manor," Bob reminisced, sounding like an old vaudeville performer reminiscing about his showbiz career.

Feb 14, 1975 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
Bob explained how the audience there was literally eating out of their hand. Every tune they performed (including the Chicken Dance, I assume) was apparently received with great enthusiasm and applause. I would hear this story many times.

Unfortunately, when I played out with the Four Links, I never witnessed that kind of adoration from the crowds we played for. (Maybe I was the weak Link.) Many times, the indifferent members of the audience would barely look up from their rum and Cokes.

Unlike the group's success at the Chicken Manor gig, we laid many an egg at clubs and halls all over Lorain County.

Thus, in my mind, Chicken Manor achieved mythical status as the place where the Four Links – for one brief, shining moment – were on top of the world musically. Sadly, the Four Links never performed there again during the short time that I was a member.

I'm not sure how long Chicken Manor remained in business. I know that it lasted into the 1980s.
Sept. 16, 1980 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
One online source (the Fields Church Newsletter of October 1952) states that Chicken Manor was preceded at its 34139 Center Ridge address by Bess & Andy's, and that it was succeeded by Santa Fe Express and finally, Buffalo Wild Wings.

Today, the scene of the Links' greatest musical triumph is gone. A retail strip center sits at Chicken Manor's former location on Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville.

Courtesy Google

2 comments:

Miss Merry said...

Sad statement on our times - a Chicken "Manor" replaced by a Buffalo Wild Wings. Booooo

JIM said...

My sister had her wedding reception there in 1984.