A tasty sampling of even more York, PA, restaurant memories
Unscientifically, I’m pretty sure that I write more columns about restaurants when I’m hungry. It’s a little like how you shouldn’t go to the grocery store before you eat… maybe I should always snack before I blog?
Anyway, I hope some of the restaurant memories I’m sharing today sound as good to you as they do to me!
Commenter Jim left me a note some time ago, saying, “I was born in the York Hospital in 1950. Lived on Lancaster Ave. until 1957 and then moved to Levittown. I have traveled all over the world and it seems no matter where I was I met someone who was from York. I learned to ride a bicycle at the Penn State campus that was just constructed while I lived on Lancaster Ave. My father tended bar at the White Rose Bar and Grill. Is it still there? My mother and father used to take me to the Avalong Ice Cream place for ice cream. Is it still there? I could go on and on but that’s enough for now.”
I thought Jim’s note was a great kickoff; not only do we, of course, still have the White Rose, it just made the news last week when presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dined there! The Avalong, sadly, is no more, though you can read many memories of it by searching past columns at www.yorkblog.com/onlyyork.
About another restaurant, Billie Jo Keihl Foulk, wrote, “My grandparents (Harlan and Faye Mummert) owned the White Swan. I don’t remember it because I’m 39 years old but I’m almost certain that when my folks owned The White Swan it was actually in the shape of a swan made of stucco. Can anyone attest to that?” I don’t recall that – I know of its traditional “icicles” you can see here in an old newspaper clipping shared with me some years ago by reader Wayne J. Gross.
About that restaurant, reader Sandy James asks, “Speaking of White Swan, does anyone remember the drink called Lime Ricky?” I’ve heard them called lime rickeys before and we have talked about those in previous columns as well!
From reader Lonnie Hengst came a good question: “I would like to know the name of the restaurant before the Eagle’s Nest and the restaurants before the Stonybrook Family Restaurant. I think it was a Howard Johnson, but what before that?” If you know the previous restaurants or businesses in either of those locations, certainly do comment!
Speaking of that Howard Johnson’s (and others), I had a note from Tom Keasey, who said, “There were two Howard Johnson’s restaurants in York during the ’60s and ’70s. The first restaurant was out on East Market Street, now the site of the Stonybrook Family Restaurant. The second restaurant was located on Arsenal Road, now the site of the Round-the-Clock Diner. My late mother, Faye Keasey, was hired to be one of the original hostesses at the Arsenal Road location when it opened in 1968 or 1969. When the restaurant opened, waitresses were paid $1 an hour and the hostesses were paid $1.25 an hour. Like another reader mentioned, the HJ logo on the dishes or plates always needed to face the customer. The founder wanted the image and food to be uniform no matter what Howard Johnson’s you would visit. For several decades Howard Johnson restaurants were the only restaurants located in the service plazas along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The chain was founded in the small town of Orleans, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. In fact, the original restaurant was located across the street from where two of my aunts and grandmother lived until the early ’70s. Whenever we made our semi-annual trips to the Cape, we always had to make sure that our route included at least one stop at an HJ to and from along the way. When not on the road, our family regularly went to the HJ’s in York for the Wednesday night Fish Fry or for fried clams. And, if we only had time for lunch, it had to be the clam roll followed by a dish of ice cream. Today Friendly’s out on Route 30 comes close with their fried clams and ice cream. I figure a meal like this once a year is OK. We know all this fried food isn’t healthy, but at the time it sure was GOOD!”
Tom, as a probably-too-frequent eater of fried foods myself, I can attest that they’re well worth it… sometimes!
More on the topic of clams, I heard from Steve Fetrow with a memory and a question. He writes, “I was born and raised in York (York High class of ’65) and I used to go to Shelley’s Restaurant on Tremont Street. They had the best Clam Soup. Can you possibly get me a copy of their recipe?”
Any ideas for Steve?
Regarding another downtown eatery, reader Carl Knoch recalled, “The Golden Glow was owned by my grandmother Belle McNeal Knoch. The cafeteria was managed by my uncle and aunt Al and Ida Knoch. I have many found memories of the Golden Glow. It had a real ‘steam table’ and you slid your tray along a rail and requested the items you wanted from the servers behind the counter, usually Aunt Ida. Al ran the cash register. There was a table for eight up by the register that was the ‘businessman’s table’ where a lot of downtown businessmen came to eat lunch together. In particular I remember the Gregory’s, I worked at the men’s store over Christmas when I was in college at Penn State. If you went out the back door of the cafeteria there was a ‘cold cellar’ and beyond that a hallway that lead to the alley across from Central Market. All of the food served came from the vendors at Central Market as I recall. Everything was ‘homemade.’ There were great pies, pumpkin and mincemeat, bran muffins, meatloaf and so much more. I remember as a kid working on Saturday mornings filling salt and pepper shakers and ketchup bottles. I hope that others can add their memories of the Golden Glow … Oh, the original facade and stained glass window over the doorway to the Golden Glow now serves as the ticket office for the Strand-Capital Performing Arts Center.”
Wow – that I did not know, despite attending many shows at the Strand! Thanks for that info, Carl!
About another cafeteria, Don Waltman writes, “I remember my mother taking my sister and I to the YWCA cafeteria in the 1940s and maybe into the early ’50s. It was the first place I ever tried schnitz and knepp, 1945 or 1946 (I couldn’t read, so it was no later than that). After that, I got schnitz and knepp every time we went there. I recall it was on the north side of East Market Street. I thought it was the first block, but I see others place it farther out than that. My father’s office (Donald B Waltman, attorney at law) was on the south side of the second block of East Market.”
And, a final restaurant note before I go find some food myself, I heard from Cecil George about the Tally House. “I used to work there at the William Tally House cafeteria cleaning the floors early in the mornings back in the late ’60s, early ’70s. I worked for an outfit called Total Maintenance Janitorial Service. Our operations manager was Eugene O. Livingston, with whom I lost contact over the years. The manager of that cafeteria was Richard Dressler. Sam Walton, CEO of Walmart, bought the cafeteria when he was still growing his empire. He brushed right by me when he was touring the place back then. Never had any interest in trying to get to close to the important people.”
A fun story, nonetheless, Cecil!
Thank you all for sharing these great restaurant memories today. I can’t wait to hear more of them!