Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Name the Previous Restaurants at this Leavitt Road Location!

Here's yet another restaurant whose building was previously home to a series of both forgotten and well-known businesses. Today it is the Marco's Pizza at 2130 Leavitt Road in Lorain, but you may have forgotten some of the previous restaurants (and even some non-food businesses) that called that location home.

Fortunately for you, I'm here to remind you!

Believe it or not, the very first restaurant at this location was Minnie Pearl's Chicken. For those of you unfamiliar with this popular country performer from the Grand Old Opry, that's her at left, in front of one of her franchised fried chicken restaurants.

The one on Leavitt Road first appeared in the Lorain phone book in 1969. It had a sign just like the one in the photo, and I remember as a kid wondering who Minnie Pearl was. But then I saw her on Hee Haw and then it all made sense.

Unfortunately for Minnie, she didn't have much time to compete with Colonel Sanders in Lorain, because the restaurant was gone from that location by 1971. The story of the demise of the chain due to some financial problems is told in a well-written article in Franchise Times Magazine which you can read here.

But the chicken fryers weren't turned off at that location just yet.

From 1971 until around 1976, 2130 Leavitt was the address of local favorite Brady's Chuckwagon Chicken House. As I noted back here, "chuckwagon" fried chicken had been on the menu for years at Brady's Restaurant.

Around 1977, the building was listed as vacant.

By around 1983, a new tenant was in the building and maybe even using the same fryers: Mister Donut. But that didn't last long, because the building was empty again in the 1984 and 1985 city directories.

Lorain Auto Sales became the first non-food related business at that location, being listed in the 1986 city directory. Buy Rite Used Cars followed, in the 1987 directory.

By 1988, the cars were out and the place went vacant again.

Around 1989, someone had a good idea: why not sell pizza at that location? Two Jeff's Pizza appeared in the 1989 City Directory, and by 1991 the twosome was replaced by Marco's Pizza, which has been there ever since.

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