Favorite Haunts From Years Ago

Here I want to reminisce about the places that I ate when I was growing up. Incidentally, none of them are still around.

My favorite place to go for Sunday dinner was Rusch’s restaurant. I recall reading the menu and wondering what “chicken fricassee” was. Grandma told me it would be like chicken and biscuit. Once I had it, it was my favorite thing to order. There was a seasoning in it that I have never been able to figure out. The gravy had a sort of yellow color to it. I have tried a lot of spices since then but have never come up with the recipe.

If I was shopping with my mother, my grandmother, and my aunt on Friday night we also liked to go to Rusch’s. I liked the toasted caramel nut roll. It was so soft and yet sweet. It was perfect with a cup of coffee. My aunt preferred to get a pice of pie.

Another thing I liked about Rusch’s was the Friday night all-you-can-eat shrimp. Often a group from Kobacker’s would go there to eat when we finished with work. It was very good and we got plenty to eat.

When I was younger we often stopped at Candyland. You walked through their candy section to get to the spot with tables. I do not ever remember purchasing candy there by the way. If it was a cold night we ordered hot chocolate. That came with whipped cream and a package or two of crackers.

If it was a warm night I might order a chocolate soda. I have learned how to make them. Grandma preferred to order sundaes. If I ordered a sundae I got a “Mexican.” That was a sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and peanuts.

There is a restaurant near where I live that reminds me so much of Candyland. It even has the same type of mirrors and booths. The Plaza has excellent food. If I am downtown I often stop for lunch there.

When I worked downtown I often ate at West Drug Store.They had delicious chili and it was not expensive. You always got some crackers so that filled me up.

Another place I ate was the counter at Kresge’s. They made good sandwiches. Another thing I used to get there was coke with lemon. They put a squirt of lemon syrup into the glass then filled it up with coke. It was just a little sweet while still tangy.

I never chose to go to the high school hangout I guess because I was not part of that crowd. It was always so crowded with kids that it was hard to order.

In later years, we ate at the Vineyard. That was a very nice restaurant. You could go there for lunch or for dinner. I do not recall anything specific that I liked to eat there, but the food was good and it was not too expensive. I remember taking my mother over to meet her sister and sister-in-law for lunch when she lived over this way. When we visited there we always saw some people we knew.

During my high school years, we either went to the Diner on Main Street or to a pizza place. The first pizza place I remember had only a few booths. When they expanded to take over a car dealership there were more places to sit. The pizza was so good. The crust was homemade and you could see them tossing it. We always ordered a large pizza with cheese and pepperoni. Sorry, Pizza Hut but this pizza was better.

If we went to the diner usually we ordered fries and a coke. The boys always needed more to eat so they ordered hamburgers and fries. Sometimes we ordered onion rings.

There was a little stand down by the lake that served food out of a trailer. My best friend worked there because her brother owned it. If there was a band concert we picked up bottles that were left around and turned them in so we could get a hot dog. They had the best onions. I know that Mary hated having to chop them.

Going out for something to eat made an inexpensive date in those days. We’d go for a ride-gas was cheap too — then we’d stop for hot dogs.

As I am putting this together I realized just how important food was to our dating. Once some of us had our licenses we went to Fredonia for meatball subs at Chimera’s. Although it was a bar at the time we were not old enough to drink so we just ate there.

I am sure those of you who grew up someplace else had access to these mom and pop restaurants.

Thank you for going down memory lane with me. All of these restaurants were privately owned. None of them were even franchised. The food was home cooked and I happen to think that it was better than any of the franchised places of today. Everything seems to taste alike!

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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