Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Showboat in Lorain – Part 3

The Showboat kept rolling along during the 1950s, showcasing a variety of acts from around the country. Above are two ads from the mid-1950s (courtesy of Rick Kurish).

By the late 1950s, however, the Showboat had apparently shifted its focus from entertainment to fine dining, judging from the ad below – which appeared in the Lorain Journal on June 1, 1957.

Gus Atthanasoff had also shorted his name in the ads to the more pronounceable ‘Gus Athan.’

But disaster in the form of a fire struck on November 17, 1957 – for the second time that year. The Lorain Journal article (below) tells the story.

Showboat Fire Again Shuts Doors

Fire again swept the Showboat Restaurant yesterday.

It was the second major blaze of the year in the same establishment.

One other time, on May 14, the restaurant was damaged by smoke from a fire in the adjoining Muir drugstore at 758 Broadway.

This occurred shortly before the planned “grand opening” of the Showboat after the place had been remodeled as a result of a fire earlier in the year.

August Atthanasoff, proprietor of the restaurant, estimated damage Sunday at $15,000.

Cause of the blaze has not been determined. It is being investigated by the fire department and the state arson board, Fire Chief Alfred G. Nickley stated.

The origin of the fire, which started yesterday afternoon in the restaurant at 776 Broadway, had not yet been determined. Chief Nickley said this morning that he would not know the cause until he makes a complete investigation.

The inside of the Showboat, one of the largest restaurants in Lorain, was gutted with heavy damage to the bar and dining room.

Smoke damage was also reported by 12 business offices in the Commercial Building above the restaurant and to adjoining stores.

Nickley said that gas service had been shut off to the surrounding stores.

The fire, a repeat of a $15,000 blaze last Jan. 15, was brought under control by 22 firemen directed by Nickley, 35 minutes after the first alarm was sent in at 5:23 p. m.

Atthanasoff said he could not say how long the restaurant will be closed.

The Elyria Chronicle covered the story as well. Here is that paper’s version (below). By the time of the Chronicle’s story, Atthanasoff had decided not to reopen the Showboat.

2nd Fire Does It
‘Showboat" Will Sail Under New 
Name – Too Much Bad Luck in Old

SEAGOING SUPERSTITION – Twice sunk, the “Showboat Restaurant,” once a popular Lorain night club is going to be salvaged. But she is going to be launched in a new location under a new name. Her captain-owner is convinced that she’s jinxed.

Plans are now being made to re-open the club by its owner, August G. Atthanasoff, of 2520 North Jefferson Blvd. It was closed for the second and last time on Nov. 18 when the restaurant’s plush interior was destroyed by a $27,000 fire, the second such fire in a year.

The first fire hit the night spot on Jan. 17, also destroying the interior and causing about $20,000 worth of damage.

Atthanasoff said he is now working on several deals on a location to reopen the restaurant sometime in the near future. And the name will be changed.

“The ‘Showboat’ has just had too much bad luck,” he declared.

Atthanasoff, in the meantime, is kept busy operating his second restaurant, Vian’s Bar-B-Q on Lake Rd.

As it turned out, Gus Atthanasoff’s new restaurant was Colony Bar, located at 1407 Colorado Avenue on the east side. Today the building is home to Offshore Pub and Grub.

It’s just too bad that the Showboat became yet another memorable Lorain business that was lost to fire.

Thanks to Rick Kurish for his help with this post.

1 comment:

Jeffery Vogan said...

Thank you for this. Gus Atthanasoff was my grandfather. It's interesting to read about this. I knew about the Showboat by name only.