Some days when I feel the need for some mind stimulating discussions on the positive and negative happenings in and around Columbus, I head to Eddie’s Barber Shop for a trim.
I was there a couple of weeks ago, and since there had been nothing extreme happening in Columbus lately, except maybe the local drug lord (I mean pharmacist) Evan McNemar, retiring, the conversation turned to eating establishments or the lack of them.
This got me to thinking about all the cafes’ that Columbus used to enjoy.
I am not implying that we do not enjoy the cafes’ we have now.
I am saying there are not enough of them and their hours are too short.
I have picked the brains of some of our older residents (my age and older) in order to make a list of the restaurants and cafes that were here from the 1940s until the early seventies.
I wanted to list the people who ran these establishments but I soon found out that some of them had changed ownership several times, so I will list only the names of the cafes.
Cafes — The Seven Gables, The Shamrock Café, Hotel Dixie Coffee Shop, The Travel Inn, The Horseshoe Café, Fanoele’s City Café, Torchia’s Café and the Frisco Café.
Burger joints as we used to call them were — Hyatt’s, Turner’s Dairy Belle, The Dairy Beam and Sarwinski’s Root Beer Stand.
These many eating places may not be unique, but what makes them unique is the fact they were all operating at the same time and stayed in business for many years.
Any person after a night of Honky Tonkin’ at Scottchie and Juanitas or Doty’s or L. C. Stith’s Schlitz Bar or the Highway Tavern or maybe drinking and dancing at Goldies 96 Club or the Red Top or Cokers or the Rendezvous or maybe the Gay Parita at Corona’s could come into Columbus after midnight and get something to eat.
The Frisco Café and The Travel Inn were never or seldom closed.
Anytime day or night you could get a full meal or just a bowl of homemade chili.
You could get breakfast any time day or night.
Now I would like to relay a story to you, that was told to me by a man I worked with for many years.
He said after a long night of drinking beer at the local watering holes, he staggered into the Frisco Café and had a couple of bowls of chili, then weaved his way home.
Upon awakening the next morning, he said his wife was talking to him but he could not hear a word. He realized that he had gone stone deaf.
He then panicked and ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and discovered what had happened.
He said he had thrown up in his sleep, while lying on his back and the mixture of beer and chili had ran down his face and into his ears.
He said that Frisco Café chili had so much grease in it that it had coagulated in his ears and sealed them air tight.
Having eaten chili at The Frisco Café, I believed every word of this story.
After a weekend of drinking and dancing and eating at the local cafes, if you had any money left, you had a huge selection of grocery stores to stock your pantries at home.
Every neighborhood in Columbus had a mom and pop grocery.
Plus there were several larger stores on and around the square.
I will attempt to list these, they are not in any kind of order.
Karbes, Safeway, Neil Roberts, Jones Brothers, Mac’s Grocery, Dotys, Woods Grocery, later Louie’s, Sweets Grocery, Grovie Anns’ Grocery, Hales Grocery and Zimmermans.
I know I probably left out one or two but this will give you a good idea of how many grocers there were in Columbus at one time.
It is sad to me to see Columbus down to one grocery store and a few convenience stores, especially since there are five banks and a credit union in town.
Come on you bankers, I think you should create some low interest loans just for people wanting to go into the grocery, or restaurant, tavern, or dance hall business.
This would surely help get Columbus back on track.
If something don’t happen bigger than a cow soon, there will not be much of Columbus left except a drugstore, two nursing homes, two funeral homes and one big old cemetery.