More memories of Bierman’s
A few weeks ago, we talked a bit about the former Bierman’s restaurant, and since that time, I’ve received several notes with yet more information and memories on that business that I want to share today.
John Senft, retired York City Fire Chief, wrote, “Bierman’s was located at 650 Cleveland Ave., the southwest corner of Cleveland Avenue and Cottage Place. This is now the location of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness. Bierman’s was owned by Fred Bierman. The Bierman family lived as 100 West Cottage Place, across the street from the restaurant.”
He continued, “Sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s, Fred sold the restaurant to Edward M. Shelly. Ed was a successful businessman and was operating his restaurant, the Tremont Restaurant, at Market and Tremont Streets. He relocated to the Cleveland Avenue location and kept the name. Ed was also a member of York City Council and served as the city’s Public Safety Director under the former Mayor-Council system of government. Ed expanded the operation into ventures known as Tremont Seafood, Tremont Rental and Tremont Vending. He also opened Shelly’s Restaurant in North York and established another company, EDCO Inc.”
John added, “Ed later sold the business sometime in the 1970s to investors from Baltimore. Unfortunately, the restaurant was destroyed by fire in November of 1977 and never reopened. Joan Smith refers to the Tremont’s clam chowder. At the Tremont, this was referred to as clam soup. It featured chopped clams in a clear broth. Following the closing of the Tremont, the soup was served at the Bel-Mar on South Belvidere Avenue. The proprietor of the Bel-Mar was Bill Orris (a retired City firefighter). Bill’s mother worked at the Tremont and likely passed the recipe on to him.”
He added that he had worked for Ed Shelly at the Tremont as a teenager. “It was my first job,” he recalled. John, thanks so much for sharing all of those details!
Reader Ted Schaefer also recalled the fire, which he dated at Nov. 23, 1977. He also added that the name change from Bierman’s to Tremont took place in 1966 or earlier, because there are postcards of Tremont for that year.
I also heard from reader Susan Sanger about the Bierman’s/Tremont connection. She wrote, “My grandmother cooked for Tremont Restaurant for 30 years. If my memory serves me well (and I may be wrong) but I think Bierman’s was the precursor to Tremont… at the Cleveland Ave. address.”
Reader Denise Durham was interested in my previous notes about Bierman Street or Avenue running nearby the restaurant’s former location. She wrote, “I have a very dear friend that currently lives on that street. It runs between West Cottage and West Jackson streets. If heading west on Cottage Place it is immediately after Beaver Street on the left side. There is a street sign bearing the name. Thank you for clearing up the mystery of Bierman Street. I am not a native Yorker and always wondered why this little street had a person’s name!”
And from Jim Shindler, I received this note: “When I read the two articles about Bierman’s Restaurant, it brought back pleasant memories. Family dining in restaurants in the 1940s was not as common as today but when our family dined out, it was usually at Bierman’s or at Fisher’s Restaurant located at the corner of Penn and Princess Street. We referred to Bierman’s as Bierman’s Seafood Restaurant because delicious seafood was its speciality and the owner’s name was Fred. When it closed I believe it was bought by Ed Shelly who was a York city councilman. Eventually Shelly’s Restaurant moved to the 1000 block of North George Street, the site of George Boring’s Butcher Shop. ‘Dick’ Shelly was the seafood manager for Shelly’s and his wife, Helena, was the cook. We still cherish her casserole recipe and use it frequently.”
Jim, how nice to hear that recipe is still in use!
Eugene Rabenstine wrote that he remembered Bierman’s, adding, “My grandparents and my father worked there in the 1940s and ’50s. There was also a barber shop attached to the restaurant.” He remembered a man named Dick Bievenhour or Bievenour owning the barber shop. He continued, “Bierman’s was a seafood restaurant and my father worked at their ice cream bar when he was a child.”
My brother-in-law extraordinaire Mike Smith helped me pinpoint the location, noting that it was VERY near where he and my mother worked together at York Composition in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
And possibly my favorite reply about Bierman’s came from Kendra Bierman, who wrote, “This restaurant is also near and dear to my heart, but for another reason. The owner of the restaurant was my great-grandfather. While I never got to experience the wonderful ice cream or oysters, I have heard stories from my grandfather about when he worked at the restaurant. I wish that I could answer the question as to what the recipes were but sadly they seem to have disappeared into the past. It’s incredible to hear how my family’s restaurant influenced people. Thank you so much for writing this article.” Kendra, thank you so much for reaching out and letting us know that you saw it!