Temukan buku favorit Anda berikutnya

Jadilah anggota hari ini dan baca gratis selama 30 hari
Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio

Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio

Baca pratinjau

Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio

257 pages
2 hours
Nov 30, 2015


Ohio's capital city has long had a vibrant restaurant culture that included German immigrants, High Street eateries and the fads of the times. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas wrote their thanks for a great meal at the Maramor. Yankees star Tommy Henrich held his customers spellbound with stories in his Diamond Room. Mama Marzetti dropped William Oxley Thompson's birthday cake and swept it back up off the floor. Join authors Doug Motz and Christine Hayes as they explore the stories of Woody Hayes's Jai Lai, manhole cover menus and bathtub décor at Water Works, as well as many other lost and beloved restaurants.
Nov 30, 2015

Tentang penulis

Doug Motz was born in Columbus and has lived his entire life within Franklin County. He is the past president of the Columbus Historical Society and has written a history column for the website columbusunderground.com since 2011. Doug is a co-author of Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, Ohio for The History Press. Christine Hayes spent her childhood in Columbus restaurants while her father gathered tidbits for his Columbus Citizen-Journal columns. She published a book of these columns, The Ben Hayes Scrapbook. Today Christine assists in the Acorn Bookshop in Grandview, writes a column for the Short North Gazette and as Ramona Moon makes art cars and collage/assemblage. She graduated from UC Irvine in theatre, taught Montessori school and lived in San Francisco for twenty-seven years before returning to Columbus.

Terkait dengan Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio

Buku Terkait
Artikel Terkait

Pratinjau Buku

Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio - Doug Motz



Imagine a world where you walk into a restaurant and there is no rock music playing, no one using a handheld device except maybe a cocktail shaker or a potato peeler and the owner is on the premises to give you a friendly hello.

You are in the restaurant to have a good meal, to be seen or to see, to be entertained. Obviously you choose one for breakfast or lunch that is familiar and inexpensive. But when you want to be extravagant, for that special occasion—how do you choose?

Columbus is a place with two rather bland rivers (except when they flood) and few outstanding geographical features. But it is a good restaurant town and always has been. It’s a crossroads for people from all walks of life. Early taverns and inns did a great business. Then immigrants came and diversified the palates of natives and travelers alike. To attract the almighty dollar, themes were developed, sometimes overtaking the entire restaurant or shopping center.

Of course, we are thinking of the Polynesian Kahiki, with its froth of bamboo, fish, birds, tikis and wild drinks. Before that, the Walk-O-Wonders at the Great Western Shopping Center featured the Taj Mahal, Niagara Falls, Trevi Fountain, Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Grand Canyon, the Pyramid of Cheops, the Sphinx and the Eiffel Tower, all in small scale. Dining at the shopping center would become a family event. Another restaurant would use an Eiffel Tower, too.

Mills Cafeteria had a huge mural on the stairwell to the second floor of Ohio history that pictured larger-than-life figures and steamboats on the river. Aquariums adorned the Kahiki, the Jai Lai and Seafood Bay. The Jai Lai always had monumental fresh floral arrangements. The Desert Inn had alligators, and the Ft. Hayes Crystal Room had macaws. Seafood Bay at one time, strangely, had a harpist wearing a bright ball gown as she played.

Postcard Wonders of the World series, Grand Canyon. Courtesy of Christine Hayes.

Postcard Wonders of the World series. Courtesy of Christine Hayes.

Max and Erma’s at one time had old-time telephones on the tables—the venues survive without the speakeasy gimmick. Jong Mea had beautiful painted screens and low lighting for a classy Chinese experience. The Maennerchor had German music scores painted on the walls.

A Water Works ad, circa 1980. Courtesy of Doug Motz.

Not much could compete with the action at Benny Klein’s. First, there was Benny himself and then the belly dancers, lit up by the champagne-bubbly lights of the two-story diamond of Roy’s Diamonds covering the building at Broad and High; sadly, they are all gone and replaced with scrolling news headlines. The giant light-bulbed arrow at Jerry’s Drive-In still presides over Tee-Jaye’s at Morse and High. And who can forget BBF’s Whirling Satellites?

Let’s not forget the Water Works with diners sitting on and around bathtubs and pipes. Or Engine House No. 5 with its wait staff coming down the fire pole with birthday cakes balanced in hand.

Presutti’s gave you the feeling of dining at their home because it was their house; at the Queen Bee diner, you could sit at a table in the kitchen, before chef’s table was even fashionable. Christina and John, the proprietors, were a feature, too; John would tell off-color stories in the back, and Christina could insult you. You told her what you had eaten and she sized you up and barked out a whole-number amount for your food, no tax and no questions tolerated.

When Kuenning’s, also a downtown venue with huge murals, opened a second restaurant, the quite different Kuenning’s Suburban, it was real news—no franchise had entered the market except Howard Johnson’s and White Castle. This was a time before there were restaurants with a view because there were no views—only one tall building and those bland rivers. When the Sky Room opened in the Deshler it was a big deal—and it was not so many floors up. And then the cylindrical Christopher Inn opened—not since the plaster-cast shopping-center Tower of Pisa had anything like that been seen!

Postcard Wonders of the World series. Courtesy of Christine Hayes.

The Terrace Room at the Union and the lovely restaurants and lunch counters at Lazarus are sadly missed by former downtown shoppers. The present-day Chintz Room is steeped in Lazarus history, and the newly opened Tai Tiki re-creates the tropical drinks of the Kahiki. We applaud the nostalgic efforts and wish to present a refresher course in the wonderful restaurants that lured the Columbus curious to their doorsteps—and let’s not forget the food.

Today, there are so many Columbus-area restaurants that a committed diner could eat at a different place every night of the year for the rest of her life. Even if she exhausted the thousands that currently exist, new ones would presumably keep opening so that she would never have to repeat.

But let’s time-travel to a world of fine and finite dining…






3260 South High Street

The Circus Chef was a diner started by Alphonse E. Helwig, a retired circus clown, who sold it to Margie and Jim Wright in 1967. The Chef was a polished metal eatery manufactured by Valentine Portable Steel Diners. The place had been a Toddle House. It had no distinguishing features except a huge sign that said, simply, EAT. Doral Chenoweth’s advice: Approach the lot with caution. Usually, there are six to a dozen eighteen-wheelers in the parking lot. EAT has stand-up accommodations for those unable to elbow their way to a stool.

The Wrights ran a couple of bars before they owned the Chef. Jim had been a cook for the New York Central Railroad. He cooked in camp cars for repair crews. So the diner/train car idea came to him naturally.

Margie was known for two things: her baseball bat, with which she defended her cooking’s honor, and her heart-of-gold comfort food.

It is said she never turned away a customer who could not pay and that she built a bell tower for a local church by collecting nickels and dimes, from customers as well as herself. She described herself as a country girl gone good.

The Grumpy Gourmet christened her diner Meatloaf Alley. He got a waggle from Margie’s bat. After twenty-one years, the couple decided to retire, and the Circus Chef’s site became the parking lot for the South High Carry-Out, near the South High Drive-In Movie.



7 South High Street

William Petrakis came to town from Greece at the age of twelve. He had a cousin in Columbus. He began shining shoes at Broad and High Streets. He started in business with Tony Nelson at the New York Dairy Lunch, 8 North High Street, in 1907. In 1918, Petrakis opened the QCB, which stood for Quick, Clean, Best. The restaurant was named for a similar fast-lunch spot in New York City.

We started when Columbus had the big arches…and ten thousand people strolled down the walks at night. We were open twenty-four hours a day for that crowd, said Petrakis. The restaurant was razed for the Huntington Bank Building. Petrakis kept only one souvenir: a piece of white marble from the original counter.

Michael Kanatas was one of the early chefs at QCB. He was known for his great noodles, among other dishes, and for mentoring many other Columbus chefs. Kanatas went on to establish his own restaurant, the Troy Restaurant on State Street. With his brothers, he also owned Don’s Drive-Inn in Worthington, the Champ Drive-Inn on Champion Avenue and Don’s Briarcliff in Reynoldsburg. Kanatas cooked in World War II for the front line and was a helping hand for many Greek immigrants in Columbus.

The Petrakis family went on to establish themselves in real estate and travel agencies. Some of QCB’s employees had been with Petrakis for forty years, and it was a sad parting.

Today, the location is the site of Pizza Rustica in the Huntington Bank Building.



248 South Fourth Street

Once you entered the Pritsolases’ incarnation (1959–2004) of the Queen Bee, your world tilted a little. Maybe it was the wall space taken up by framed jigsaw puzzles, the ancient ivies in the windows or the funny slogans and toys all about. Or maybe it was Christina and John Pritsolas themselves. The couple had an amazing work ethic, a gaggle of friends in high places who would not let them quit and customers who enacted real soap operas as compelling as those on the TV.

A Queen Bee menu, undated. Courtesy of Doug Motz.

Rookie customers got waited on, but regulars knew to go behind the long formica counter, pick up their silverware and napkins, pour their own soft drinks and coffee and then march up to John’s counter in the back and place an order.

Those in the know sat at the Table, a bare wooden eight-top circle amid the flotsam and jetsam of diner-land: boxes of cabbage, sacks of potatoes, shelves of canned goods, bags of onions and paper supplies.

The Table was the luncheon spot for armed vice squad cops, firemen, postal workers, reporters, judges and mayors. John Pritsolas himself served diners at the Table, as it was a mere six steps from his grills and fryers. He kept risqué calendars over his dishwashing empire, with band-aids placed carefully over exposed body parts. The Table area was rather stag, though Christine spent much time there.

The Queen Bee predated John. It opened in 1949 across from the Central Market. In 1951, John came to this country from his native Greece. After bouncing around the United States in various restaurants, John came to Columbus to work for Seafood Bay. A year later, in 1957, he bought the Bee with a partner, Mike Sakellakis; John bought him out in 1959.

John considered the Central Market days the good old days—opening at 4:30 a.m. and closing at 8:00 p.m. The Bee lost some of its buzz when Central Market closed in 1969.

A Queen Bee menu cover, undated. Courtesy of Doug Motz.

John married Christina in 1958. She quit Lazarus to be the queen of the Queen Bee. John never learned to write or read English, so Christina did all the reading for him. John, however, could recite Greek epic poems and did so for special occasions at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. He also made vats of rice pudding there and in the Bee. Baklava and bread pudding rounded out the dessert menu, self-serve of course.

In 1996, a fire closed the Bee, but former Columbus mayor Greg Lashutka, a Bee regular, created a fund that people could contribute to and reopened it. John outlived Christina and her cash box by her favorite chair (in later years, it was hard for Christina to get to the cash register). Suddenly, the Bee lost its buzz again—Christina’s drama, her fashions, her soap operas, her presents she brought from home for her favorites were gone.

Despite his loss and his numerous hip replacements, John carried on, with Pam Kellison as much-needed serving help. He sold the Bee in 2004 to Dash and Nancy Kodhele, Albanians, who

Anda telah mencapai akhir pratinjau ini. Daftar untuk membaca lebih lanjut!
Halaman 1 dari 1


Pendapat orang tentang Lost Restaurants of Columbus, Ohio

0 peringkat / 0 Ulasan
Apa pendapat Anda?
Penilaian: 0 dari 5 bintang

Ulasan pembaca