Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Harvest House Cafeteria – Part 1
You can part of its illuminated sign at the far left of the above photo.
The Harvest House Cafeterias were owned and operated by Woolworth’s. According to the book, Remembering Woolworth’s: A Nostalgic History of the World’s Most Famous Five-and-Dime by Karen Plunkett-Powell, “During the 1960s, Woolworth’s also introduced Harvest House restaurants in American shopping malls, and Red Grilles in their Woolco stores. By then, approximately eighty percent of F. W. Woolworth variety stores were equipped with some type of eatery. Some had small counters seating ten, while others could seat over 300. There were stand-up counters, sit-down counters, full-fledged cafeterias, bakeries, and simple soda fountains.”
Although cafeterias are still perfectly at home in schools, colleges and hospitals, it’s strange (and a little quaint) to think of cafeterias as a dinner option for mall shoppers back then. But it was a successful business model, and an economical choice for shoppers as well. I’m surprised the concept hasn’t made a comeback.
Here’s an ad for the Midway Mall Harvest House that ran in the Lorain Journal on January 6, 1967. (I suppose today the clown in the ad would be a no-no; too scary!)
Anyway, the Midway Mall Harvest House lasted right into the 1990s. Sadly, both the restaurant and the Woolworth’s store both disappeared beginning with the 1994 edition of the Elyria City Directory.
Tomorrow: A Look Inside a Harvest House