Sunday, January 2, 2011

Old-time Diners at the Loop

Loop businesses in late 1960's; Mayflower's Lunch is below Pepsi sign
I thought I'd start out the New Year with a few posts relating to feedback that I've received about this blog.

A few months ago, I received an email from a reader named Ed, who was interested in seeing a photograph of "shops and a diner that stood where the city hall is now."

It's kind of a large area that Ed was talking about. I did find a vintage photo of the Loop businesses at that corner for him (from the Images of America book)  and there was a restaurant – Mayflower's Lunch – visible in the photo. I realized, however, that more research was needed to determine which diner he might be talking about.

There were two West Erie addresses in that area that had restaurants or diners through the years: 116 W. Erie and 216 W. Erie. As you will see, the businesses at those addresses seemed to come and go.

Around 1929, William Pupenbroke operated a restaurant at 216 W. Erie. By 1933, it was referred to as the Welcome Inn Diner in the City Directory.

Meanwhile, it wasn't until 1939 that the first restaurant was listed at the 116 W. Erie address, namely the Dixieland Quick Lunch.

Around 1940, Helen's Diner took over the 216 W. Erie address. By 1945, the 116 address went vacant.

Same view around 1950; Blue Castle Sandwich Shop at left
By 1947, a new restaurant was at the 116 address: the Blue Castle Sandwich Shop. Its motto: "We never close."

You can see the Blue Castle in the photo (reproduced from CENTURY: 100 Years of Lorain and Lorain Business History) at right; the bus is stopped in front of it on West Erie, and its sign is visible above the awing.

Despite its motto, in 1952 the Blue Castle Sandwich Shop was gone, and the 24-hour Butterfry Restaurant was in its place.

By 1955, Helen's Diner was replaced at the 216 W. Erie address by the C & R Diner.

Despite its intriguing name, the Butterfry was replaced by the Waffle Shop around 1958. (Coincidentally, the national waffle-themed chain of restaurants – the Waffle House – was being established in Atlanta around the same time.)

By 1960, the C & R Diner was replaced by the Dew Drop Inn.

During the mid-Sixties, things began to wind down. By 1965, the Dew Drop Inn disappeared from the City Directory, and that was the end of eateries at the 216 W. Erie address.

Around 1965 the Waffle Shop disappeared from the City Directory. From about 1967 to 1969, Mayflower's Lunch took over the address. Then from 1970 to 1971, the address is vacant, disappearing entirely in the 1972 City Directory (the same time the new City Hall showed up in the listings as being under construction).

After reading about all the restaurants at those two locations, I feel only one thing when I look at Lorain City Hall today: regret, over what urban renewal accomplished.

Given the choice between the enormous and rather dated-looking Lorain City Hall, and a diner that serves waffles – I'll take the waffles every time!


If anyone has any knowledge or memories of these or any other long-gone restaurants in this area (especially if you worked at any of them), please leave a comment! For decades, the City Directory listed a city comfort station at 300 W. Erie, and looking at the photo at the top of this post, it's hard to figure out which building is the 216 W. Erie address. Help!


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Broadway Lanes, in the basement of the Broadway Building, had a small restaurant, burgers, hot dogs and such. I think the bus station had a snack bar.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Also, I notice a restaurant in the enlarged 1968 photo; it's next to the bus station parking lot.

Dan Brady said...

Good eye, Alan! I can see that I have a lot more research to do!

-Alan D Hopewell said...

No prob. Also, a lot of the downtown bars, i.e. the 333, Sky-Lite, Sportsmen's, et al, also served food.

A side note on the 333 bar....they had a hideaway addition, called the Office, that was accessed through the rear of the building; there was a red neon sign, reading "OFFICE", marking the entrance.

Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio said...

I just now saw this post. I am so thrilled to learn more about it. I have an interior view of the Blue Castle that my Aunt Irene Zagorsky Ferner had. I do not have the original photograph. Someone else in the family must have gotten it when she died in 2012, but I have a good scanned copy of it. My Aunt Helen Zagorsky Hendry is seen in it. There are two other people in it as well. My aunt told me that they were Eddie & Loretta Eastman, but I can't verify that of course. I can send a photo if of interest to you. I am glad to know more of its history!

Anonymous said...

I remember the neon sign above Broadway Lanes with animated bowler. Has anyone seen a photo of that sign. I would love a picture of what to me was very high tech in the '60s

Keith Smithberger said...

My Uncle Herb Smithberger owned the 333 Bar. My parents and uncles all worked there! I have zero pictures. I have been searching for years. I’m going to look over all of the pictures on this blog to see if I can find anything. I just about grew up at this bar. So it’s a big memory. Keith Smithberger

Anonymous said...

I was able to obtain the original tin ceiling from the 333 bar from a friend who salvaged it before they tore down the building I now have the restored tin ceiling in my downtown historical building it's beautiful id you ever want to see it contact me my building is part of the Old Vermilion jailhouse in Vermilion Ohio

Anonymous said...

I found a keychain at my Dads…. Says 333 ??? Bar??? And has like a 5 digit phone number on it❤️

Anonymous said...

I have a 333 bar keychain!