Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Restaurants with many names edition

I shouldn’t write about food when I’m hungry. At last count, I’ve had three snack or drink breaks while trying to compose this piece!

Oops. Bad Joan.

Today’s Ask Joan is a special follow-up edition on the former 7 Cousins, a restaurant with many names!

1. In last week’s column, I followed up on Old World Imports, one East Market Street business readers were wondering about.

In the same original column on Sept. 4, Bella Fix had asked about the name of a restaurant on the corner of Memory Lane and East Market St. where Weis is now. “Thought it was something like 7 Cousins or 7 Seas,” Bella wrote.

Well, she was right – at least for some periods of time! I received a lot of memories on this restaurant that I’d like to share today.

Andrew Smith confirmed the 7 Cousins name, and said the place was also referred to as Hap Miller’s. I found from other commenters that it was first Hap’s, then 7 Cousins, then Cicero’s, then possibly Archie’s or Archangels!

Steve Kohler shared the photo above of the restaurant’s sign, from the Hap Miller days; thanks, Steve!

Commenter Karen Boyle writes, “There was a restaurant on that corner that at one time was named ‘Hap Miller’s’ – I believe Hap Miller owned a couple of restaurants in York. It was remodeled and became ‘7 Cousins’ (can’t remember if it was ‘7’ or ‘seven’). I don’t know who owned the restaurant. It was a beautiful, high-class restaurant. There was always a very well dressed maitre d’ to seat you and oversee everything. The food was delicious and 7 Cousins was a very high-end type of restaurant for York. I would go there with friends and even though we were quite young to go to such a nice restaurant (around 18 or 19), we were always treated very well. This would have been around 40 years ago. We were disappointed when the restaurant moved to the restaurant section of the York Valley Inn. The atmosphere just wasn’t the same. I’m not sure how long the restaurant remained in that location.”

Ann Funk, at the Information Services desk at Martin Library, found the exact address of Seven Cousins Restaurant at 2400 E. Market St. in the 1972 York City Polk Directory.

Ted Schaefer said of the Seven Cousins era, “We used to go there to eat and dance often in the late 60’s and early 70’s. They had great steaks.” (Um, hungry again now. THANKS, Ted.)

And Nancy Orndorff writes, “A second Seven Cousins was opened at the Park City Mall in Lancaster in the 1970’s. My parents and I had dinner at both restaurants. The food was delicious. I often chose Seven Cousins as the restaurant where we would go to have my birthday dinner.”

Lew described it as “a popular fine dining restaurant in late 60s or early 70s.” He says, “I think it was owned by 7 different cousins in their family.”

Penny Shellenberger recalls, “The owners of 7 Cousins then went on to own The Embers in the lower level of the York County Shopping Center, one owner had been a teacher in York High too. A Lincoln-Mercury Dealership was on the actual corner of Haines Rd and E. Market St. Up behind those places was a deserted mansion that we as kids used to ride our bikes too… we thought it was spooky, vagrants slept in there, but we were never scared, more stupid.”

Commenter Leslee said, “Seven Cousins restaurant was between the Weis Markets and Hills Plaza (where Outback, Dollar Store etc.) are located. It was Seven Cousins (in the 60’s and early 70’s?) and later became Archie’s. As a high school student in the early 70’s it was a popular place for homecoming dinners. As I recall, a much smaller Weis Markets was on the corner of Haines Rd. and Market St. and then Seven Cousins/Archie’s was sort of in the parking lot area of Hills Plaza.”

Betsy Baird remembered it as Hap Miller’s, and said it later might have gone by the name of Archie’s. I had also heard of that business possibly being called “Archangels” in the 1980s, so I wonder if Archie’s was a derivative of that?

Finally, I heard from Regina (Tufarolo) Altland, who shed light on a phase of the restaurant’s history not mentioned yet! She shared the image above, an ad from the September 1971 edition of “This Month” magazine, and writes, “The restaurant… was Seven Cousins from approximately the late 1960s ’til 1974 – one city directory in the 1970s listed it as ‘Seven Cousins Oriental Village.’ THEN it was bought by Joe Alfano and Bob Tufarolo Sr. (my late husband) in 1974 and named Cicero’s – in business until 1976.”

She continues, “1977 directory listed this address as ‘Sea Gull Restaurant’ – one year later, this address was vacant. Does anyone remember Cicero’s? They had fine food – all made to order – fresh! (My 3 teen-agers all learned a lot about the restaurant business in just a few years!) One highlight – Red Skelton ate there (I think he was appearing somewhere, maybe the York Fair?)”

And in probably the most interesting story I’ve heard on this location, Regina adds, “When we purchased Seven Cousins – it was padlocked with all the food and Oriental decor inside. All food spoiled and VERY odiferous! (Also had Oriental decorations for a long time!)”

Thank you, Regina, for sharing!

Many thanks also to Jim Weaver, Terri Beaverson and Emory Stiles, who also helped out with the name!

One other, related memory I received was from Donna Cochran, who recalled a restaurant one street over! She remembered International Family Restaurant at 2701 Eastern Blvd.; the interesting thing about that is there was another one of those in the previous incarnation of Delco Plaza that I recall eating at as a child! Donna says she never ate there, but “always went to Sears for hot dogs, and Hills Dept. Store.” Yay for Sears hot dogs!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

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