Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Restaurants of Richard W. Head – Part 4

The Hoop Drive-in on West Erie
(Photo courtesy of Richard C. Head)
As I noted in a past series on the Hoop Drive-in, the popularity and success of Richard W. Head’s homegrown restaurant chain attracted the attention of the Manners organization in Cleveland.

(It probably didn’t hurt that the “Sooper Hooper” double-decker burger was similar to the classic Big Boy sandwich.)

By 1961, Manners had purchased the original Hoop Drive-in on Henderson Drive.

1962 Lorain phone book ad
Three out of the four remaining locations (including an Elyria outlet on Bridge Street) followed, leaving one Hoop restaurant on North Ridge near Clinton Avenue. Richard W. Head consequently joined the Manners organization as an associate.

But that’s not the end of the story. Even before the Manners chain eventually disappeared entirely in the late 1970s, Richard W. Head was back at work at the restaurants he built. The 1975 city directory listed him as the manager of Poor Richard’s Pub at the original Hoop Drive-in location. And the former West Erie Avenue Hoop that had become a Manners Big Boy briefly became a Hoop again in 1975.

In September 1975, Richard W. Head purchased Tudy’s Restaurant on 254. He also developed a small chain of Tudy’s Restaurants, using the former Hoop/Manners location on West Erie and the Manners at 2173 N. Ridge Road.

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Looking back, Richard W. Head successfully owned and operated restaurants in the Lorain area over three decades. It’s an achievement that we’ll probably not see again soon, especially during a time in which consumers tend to favor national chains, making it a challenge for locally owned restaurants to survive.

In an email, Richard C. Head explained how his father’s restaurants played an important role in his life.

"All of my family worked in those restaurants in our teen years and they were the foundation of our family’s financial well being, as well as a training ground for all of us regarding how to work hard in this life."

As for his father, Richard noted, "He was a unique man who taught us all how to conduct our lives for the greater good. 

"Thanks for keeping his legacy alive!”

7 comments:

Rick said...

Interesting series of posts. Although I am familiar with the Hoop Restaurants from my teen days, especially the one at the corner of route 58 and West Erie Avenue, I never knew the history behind that enterprise and the others operated by the Head family. Thanks to Richard C. Head for sharing his families restaurant history and to you Dan, for providing the platform which presents the story for us to read.

Dan Brady said...

Glad you enjoyed the series, Rick. It's always nice when a family member connected to a business that I've written about reaches out to me and provides first-hand recollections and photos!

Anonymous said...

Love the cars in the old photo's, 1958 Chevy and 1958 Cadillac, both pretty rare today and expensive as all get out

Anonymous said...

Dan,
The original Hoop restaurant's were before my time although I had heard of them before. I do remember going to Manner's with my parents as a kid. We went to the one at the corner of Oberlin Ave and Cooper Foster Park. It seems that this location didn't start life as a Hoop. I think that it was torn down when they widened Oberlin Ave.
Chuck
Jackson MI

Soap Enthusiast said...

I've lived in this area for such a long time and have never heard of Tudy's Restaurant before, sounds like a place that I'm going to have to try. Another good burger place in Lorain County that I also have enjoyed is Midway Oh Boys in Elyria.

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Jeff Sigsworth said...

Was Richard Head associated with Dick's Drive-In on 21st Street, just east of Leavitt (Rt. 58)?

Dan Brady said...

HI Jeff,

A pretty good guess/hunch, but Dick’s Drive-in was run by a gentleman named Richard Rissman.

http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2011/03/name-that-drive-in.html