Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gartner's Supper Club Ad – Feb 1955

Back on my first post about Urban Miller's Supper Club (here), someone posted a comment about a supper club on the far east end of Cleveland Street in Elyria by the railroad tracks.

I could be wrong but they might be talking about Gartner's Supper Club. The above ad for the place appeared in the Lorain Journal on February 3, 1955 – 60 years ago this month.

The 'supper club' designation was probably just an attempt to be trendy. Actually this place was better known as Gartner's Inn and was located at 39462 Center Ridge Road. It was opened by Roy E. Fankhauser, a German immigrant, in 1937.

I found an early listing for the tavern in the 1941 Elyria City Directory. It was lumped in with a group of businesses at the east end of Cleveland Street (below).

Unfortunately, Mr. Fankhauser's name was often mangled when it appeared in the directory as the president of the company. In the 1941 book he is listed as R. E. Frankhausen; in the 1947 book as Roy Funkhouser; in the 1957 book, in the twilight years of the inn, it's finally correct.

Interestingly, besides being a tavern owner, Roy Fankhauser was also a pioneer in the area of vending machines. He had installed jukeboxes and bingo machines in his own tavern, and subsequently established a separate business on the side servicing other companies. This side business grew into Ohio Vending Machines and Entertainment, the single largest vending company in Northern Ohio. (You can visit the company website here.)

But let's get back to Gartner's Inn.

In 1947 a full-page ad (at right) announced the opening of the new Gartner's Inn, timed to coincide with the New Year's Eve celebration. A July 1948 article provided more promotion of the "new" inn, and a March 23, 1954 article described improvements done to the exterior of the place.

As the years went on, the Elyria city directories didn't always include the company's listing, as the Center Ridge Road businesses were technically in North Ridgeville. Thus, Gartner's Inn is a little harder to research and was omitted in the directories throughout much of the 1950s.

The last listing I could find for Gartner's Inn was in the 1962 book. Beginning in the 1963 book, the tavern's listing was now the Porter House.

1973-74 Tiffany phone book ad
It was the Porter House for many years until it became Tiffany's Steak House and Brew in the early 1970s – continuing under that name until around 1996.

After a year with no listing at all, the address became the home of Lite Rock Cafe beginning in the 1998 book. After that, the address was host to a variety of businesses, some at the same time, including Home Plate Cafe, Roca Bar & Grill, Guys-N-Dolls, the Country Ridge, and Indigo Salon (which I think is still sharing the space).

Time marches on, and tastes change. The era of supper clubs is long gone, at least in our area.

Today, the primary entertainment establishment at the 39462 Center Ridge Road address is Crissy's Lounge (below).

1 comment:

dbhewitt63 said...

That was me and yes, that's the place! I remember it as Tiffany's when I went there circa '79-'82.
It had an authentic, nostalgic type feel -like at any moment The Rat Pack could walk in! Thanks for finding this!