Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eating Out in Lorain – February 1970 – Part 1

Here’s an interesting article that provides a nice snapshot of the restaurant scene in Lorain in February 1970. The article, which appeared in the Sunday Journal on February 1, 1970, focuses on the newest culinary phenomenon: “quick service food.” (The term “fast food” hadn’t been coined yet!)

Here is the article, written by Staff Writer Marsha Nutter. I’ve transcribed it to make it easier to read.

Pizzas and Hamburgers On The Run
Eating Out Today: A New Way of Life

Staff Writer

EATING IN the car or inside the building – from paper cups, tin foil wrappers and cardboard boxes is all part of a national trend, the quick service food establishments.

These establishments, which specialize in fast service, seem to be taking over much of the restaurant trade.

Serving anything from tacos and chicken to pizza and the good old hamburger the quick service food establishments are springing up everywhere and often in clusters, so every member of the family can satisfy his tastes.

Ken Cassell, a Lorain realtor who owns several franchises, said he has studied the quick service food franchises the past few years and he feels they are here to stay. Cassell has franchises for Taco Kid, Pizza Hut, Fish and Chips and Lums.

“I think they are a tremendous service to the community,” Cassell said. The basic concept of the franchises has provided people with what they want at a modest cost – without all of the frills.”

ANOTHER POPULAR idea in the quick service food franchising, Cassell said, is grouping several franchises in one area. He has done this on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.

“People will then come to that area because they know that’s where all of the food restaurants are,” he said. “They can then buy what their tastebuds want that day or if the entire family is out, maybe they want something different, and the whole family can be serviced.”

The quick service establishments enable more families to eat out more often because of the lower prices.

What about the success of these restaurants?

“The public tells whether or not something is successful,” Cassell said. “The public is patronizing these restaurants and they are making money so the public must be telling us something.”

JOHN GONGWEK, manager of the Red Barn Restaurant in Elyria, said he feels the quick service food establishments are a great asset to all ages – the youth can come in and grab a snack, young married couples with their children now have a better chance to go out and eat and more and more golden agers, on a fixed income, are able to eat out.

“We’re able to keep up with fast people living the fast pace today,” Gongwek said.

Floyd Ferner, manager of Sandy’s Restaurant on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain, said in his market “everything is fast, fast, fast.”

“People just don’t like to wait anymore so we stress service, quality and cleanliness,” Ferner said. “The average customer is usually taken care of within 15 seconds after he enters the door.”

HUBERT STEAGALL, manager of the McDonald’s Restaurant on SR 254 in Sheffield Township, said he feels the business is definitely on the rise.

“I have been getting more and more families coming in here for dinner and I believe this is going to continue,” said Dale Miller, manager of the Burger Chef on Lodi Street in Elyria.

Bob Bartlick, owner of Mister S on Broadway in Lorain, said he feels the quick service food establishments have lost some of their enchantment because of price increases.

“I think this is only temporary though,” he said.

“If our franchises weren’t doing the business, they would not warrant any new openings,” said Leon  Denomme, manager of Burger King on Broad Street in Elyria.

“Quick service isn’t any good without proper facilities which include a good dining room and ample parking space,” he said.

GENE FREET, manager of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant in Sandusky, said “the trend is definitely toward the quick service establishments.”

Tomorrow: The rest of the story, which includes the viewpoint of the owners of several iconic area restaurants including McGarvey’s, the Castle-on-the-Lake, Presti’s and Eddy’s Chalet West.

You’ll note that the article shown at the top of this post includes several small photos of area restaurants. The strip of photos across the top include (from left to right) Sandy’s Hamburgers at Oberlin Avenue and Meister Road in Lorain, the Burger Chef in Elyria, the Red Barn in Elyria, Taco Kid, and the Pizza Hut on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.

The vertical photos consist of Minnie Pearl’s Chicken on Leavitt Road and Arby’s on Griswold in Elyria.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

The article reminds me of something that happened to me at Mister S on Broadway....
Mister S had a free meal deal at the time (1975?) ; if your register receipt had a star on it, your order was free.
I was in line to order some munchies one evening, when I allowed a pretty young lady to get in front of me. To make a long story short, her receipt bore a star, as did the one of the fellow behind me!

Dan Brady said...

I think you learned a valuable lesson that day, Alan!

Anonymous said...

Would like to see a photo of McDonalds when it was on 254. We went there a lot in the 1970s because that was the closest one to Oberlin, until the one went up on Griswold in the early 80s. Oberlin wouldn't get one until 1991 and this town STILL fights any new franchised fast food place coming in.