Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Holiday Inn Motel – Part 3

The history of the restaurant that was part of the Holiday Inn Motel property is as hard to research as that of the motel. (That's the restaurant in the photo at right visible behind the motel sign)

In the 1957 article in part 2 of this series yesterday, Richard Konik owned both the Holiday Inn Motel as well as the restaurant, which then was called the Holiday Inn Lounge.

But according to an article (below) in the June 12, 1954 Chronicle-Telegram, another gentleman originally owned and ran the business.

Former Meat Dealer Owns Restaurant Near Vermilion On Lake Rd.

Eight years ago Frank Kelsey interrupted his more than 30 years as a wholesale meat supplier for restaurants and stores to spend two years as owner of McGarvey's Restaurant in Vermilion. Now he has returned to the restaurant business with the opening of Holiday Inn on Lake Rd. near Vermilion.

From 1944 to 1946, while the United States was at war and meat was scarce, he and Mrs. Kelsey operated the McGarvey restaurant. Then when meat became more plentiful Kelsey returned to the business which included operation of the Tend-R-Lean Steak Co in Cleveland.

The Tend-R-Lean process was originated by Kelsey and owned exclusively by him from 1940 to 1953 when he had to leave the meat business because of his health.

The Kelseys were practically ready to close a deal for a restaurant being built in connection with Holiday Inn Motel on Routes 2 and 6, just west of Baumhardt Rd. The location seemed ideal to them and the lease was signed.

June 12, 1954 newspaper ad
The restaurant has been open for business for two weeks, although the grand opening is set for this week-end. It has a seating capacity of 75 and will be open every day. There is a staff of 14 at present but this will be doubled during the height of the season, Kelsey says.

Home baked pies are served. The pastry cook is Gussie Romandy, who for the past three seasons has been the cook at The Trade Winds Restaurant in Miami, Fla.

Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey live in Rocky River at present. Their son, William, is to graduate from Ohio University tomorrow and their daughter, Virginia Ann, who will follow her brother at Ohio U. was graduated from Rocky River High School Thursday.

Another article in the Chronicle-Telegram that appeared a few weeks later explained why a second grand opening for the restaurant was needed. The article below appeared in the paper on July 3, 1954.

Holiday Inn On Lake Rd. Announces Formal Opening This Weekend

A restaurant opening that turned out to be a hasty closing because of a kitchen fire, is scheduled for a second try.

July 3, 1954 newspaper ad
This week-end will be the formal opening of the new Holiday Inn on Lake Rd, east of Vermilion, its second in three weeks, according to Frank Kelsey, owner, who is hoping for better luck this time.

Actually the fire, which occurred three weeks ago, was not serious, resulting mostly in smoke damage, but it did force closing of the place for about four hours and many who came to attend the opening were turned away, Kelsey said.

The fire occurred when fat in the deep fryer broke into a blaze. The Vermilion fire department was called, but the fire was extinguished before they arrived.

Since that time the restaurant has been doing business, and incidentally giving out souvenirs which it had on hand for the first opening.

Now most of the souvenirs are gone, but the food is good as ever and, in the opinion of many early patrons, the best obtainable anywhere.

In Meat Business 30 Years
Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey are not new in the food and restaurant business. Kelsey for more than 30 years was engaged in the wholesale meat business, supplying restaurants and stores, and also operating a well-known Lake Rd. restaurant for two years, in which business his wife was an active associate.

The Holiday Inn is a beautiful new restaurant located just west of Baumhart Rd. and provided with every facility for preparing and serving food on a continuous basis.

Every restaurant has its specialties, however, and these for the new Holiday Inn are fish, chicken, and ham dinners and such tasty desserts as Lillian's cheese cake, which has a local reputation in the Vermilion area, and Bessie Romandy's apple and cocoanut cream pies and homemade rolls.

The restaurant has a seating capacity of 75 and is surrounded by a spacious parking area. A staff of 14 persons assures quick service during the serving hours from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

Curiously, by autumn the Holiday Inn restaurant had a new owner. An ad in the November 13, 1954 indicated that the owner was now Joe LaRocco.

But by the following October, the Holiday Inn restaurant was again for sale or lease.

The former Holiday Inn Restaurant today
Next: the rest of the story of the Holiday Inn Motel and Restaurant


Mike Finley ~ Big Vanilla said...

I didn't know anything about this earlier existence of the restaurant, before Dick. I always thought his dad Frank Konieczkowski financed and built it.

Unknown said...

Same here. I can't tell you how fascinating this stuff is. My Dad and uncle never talked about this stuff. I'm happy to say that my son loves family history, and these articles fill in a lot of blanks.