Starting the New Year with restaurant memories
This week, I have yet more memories to share of York County’s restaurants of the past, including an answer to a reader question from more than a year ago. I hope you’ll enjoy starting 2017 with these great food recollections.
In July 2015, reader Robert Lartz Sr. had asked if anyone knew the exact location of the former Menu-Ette restaurant, which he’d bought a postcard depicting that you can see with today’s column.
I did get a great letter in reply from reader Carolyn (Bear) Stiles, which I received shortly after Mr. Lartz asked his question but held onto “in case I got other Menu-Ette items.” While trying to clean out my files for the year ahead, I realized I never shared her response, for which I’m terribly sorry! (And this is why we do New Year’s cleaning at the Ask Joan headquarters…)
Carolyn had written, “I can answer Mr. Robert Lartz Sr.’s qustion about the Menu-Ette restaurant. The original building was built by my late parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Bear III, to house their grocery store, Bear’s Food Market. On the west side (shown on postcard) was Strickler’s Antique Shop. On the east side, just on the other side of our horse pasture, was a home owned by James McGuire (now the Blue Heron). The Modernaire Motel was and still is directly across the street.”
Carolyn continued, “My father leased the grocery store to the Eucalano brothers, Benny and Deme, and they called it Eucalanos’ Superette. After my parents sold the property, it became the Menu-Ette. Floowing that, it was a restaurant called Charlie’s (nothing to do with my dad). The original building was destroyed by fire around October 1978. The address is 3312 E. Market St.”
Carolyn, thank you so much for that answer, and my apologies again for the delay in sharing it! I would love to know what others remember of the Menu-Ette and the other iterations of this Market Street business!
Reader Joan Nocin wrote to me as well about this restaurant, across from Bear’s Department Store. “We went there after basketball games and/or movies as teenagers,” she wrote. “Had the best egg and olive sandwiches in York… also Coke with cherry.” I have not seen a restaurant serve egg-and-olive sandwiches for some time, but I have heard that reported several times about the Ramona as a delicacy!
Moving back out east of York, I received a note from another Joan, Joan Axe, who was born and raised in York, “back in 1936 on College Avenue, across from the old Noel School.” Joan had wondered if anyone else remembered Melvin’s. “It was in East York where the overpass is at Belmont,” she wrote. “It was a hot spot for us teenagers in the ’50s and had the best ham barbecue you ever ate. I would love to have the recipe.”
Though I’ve shared some memories of Melvin’s in the past, back in 2011, I’ve never seen the barbecue recipe. Does anyone have it? I’d love to share!
Another letter that I received some time ago but had not yet published came to me from Ramon Langione, who used to attend church with my mother, father and I back in the early to mid-1980s!
He wrote, “I recall an Italian family restaurant by the name of LoPiccolo’s. The location was just south of the York Hospital (same side) on South George Street. If I recall correctly, this was in the 1950s.”
Ramon continued, “I have no idea why I remember this, but the LoPiccolos had a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Anna. They perhaps had others I did not know about. Anna was married to a Mr. George Whitely of the Dentsply company, a family of prominence. They supplied the York community wage-earners with a good family lifestyle. The family residence was on the southeast corner of South George Street and Springettsbury Avenue.”
He concluded, “My reason for writing would be for any history of the LoPiccolo restaurant… the opening and closing dates, perhaps menu offerings and its demolition date. Also, if anyone would have photographs pertaining to the entire issue. I am recalling all of this with a faint memory. I was about 10 to 12 years old when I last remember the restaurant,” and he added that he is now 77.
I would love to share some LoPiccolo’s memories and history for Ramon. I am guessing that this restaurant was a successor to the Violet Hill Cafe, of which a Joe LoPiccolo was host, which boasted the slogan “Where Italian spaghetti was made famous,” but I’d love to confirm that further! (You can read more about the Violet Hill Cafe by searching for LoPiccolo on Stephen H. Smith’s Yorkspast blog at www.yorkblog.com/yorkspast, too.)
Thanks to everyone for indulging me in these tasty memories!Have questions or memories to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.