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Pub Owner Visits Knockoffs of Her Restaurants

Pub Owner Visits Knockoffs of Her Restaurants

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Historic pub and inn duplicated in Shanghai

Wikimedia / Martin Bodman

British restaurateur Gail Caddy should have no problem finding her way around the Rock Point Inn in Shanghai this week, because that building and the restaurant next door are near-exact knockoffs of properties she owns back in the U.K.

According to Shanghaiist, it all started back in 2006 when some developers in Shanghai were looking to create a quaint British vibe for the “Thames Town” neighborhood they were working on. The 256-year-old Rock Point Inn and Cobb Gate Fish Bar in the adorable coastal tourist town of Lyme Regis in Dorset fit the bill so perfectly that the developers decided to just copy them outright, which came as something of a shock to their owner.

“My properties have been copied by the developers in this new town,” Caddy told Shanghaiist in 2006 when she first learned of the knockoff plans. “They have called them the same names, although Cobb is missing one ‘B.’ They have also copied the same structure and sited them with the Yangtze River behind.”

The ersatz Rock Point Inn does look almost identical to the original.

“Yes, it is very flattering but feel some sort of explanation could have been given, also permission to copy them …” said Caddy.

Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes a person would like a nice big check to go along with those warm fuzzy feelings. Caddy probably isn’t holding her breath for a payout, as Shanghaiist reports that she’s yet to receive an explanation for exactly how her restaurants wound up duplicated in China, but she’s finally making the trip to Shanghai to see her restaurants’ unauthorized identical twins in person.

Caddy said she’d be visiting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. At least she won’t get homesick.

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup from a Leftover Roasted Chicken

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Homemade chicken noodle soup is a comforting dish on a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather, and an easy way to use up leftover roasted chicken. Don’t be afraid of making the stock from scratch—it’s actually easy and makes all the difference in your finished soup. Simply brown the bones from the leftover roasted chicken carcass to give the stock a complex flavor, add some vegetables and water, simmer, then strain the stock. Finally, just bring it back up to a simmer, add raw vegetables, and finish the soup with any leftover chicken meat and cooked egg noodles. (Don’t try to add the dried noodles to your soup—they’ll suck up the stock and thicken the soup to a pasty mess.)

What to buy: We strongly recommend making the stock yourself, but you can also substitute 6 cups of high-quality, low-sodium store-bought chicken broth. And while making roasted chicken is easy, you can also use a leftover rotisserie chicken for this soup.

Game plan: The stock can be made in advance and refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

You’ll need to make a roasted chicken before you begin.

What to buy

Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Signature Round Dutch Oven

Durable, easy to clean, and heirloom-quality, this Dutch oven is perfect for soups, stews, seafood, and so much more—and it comes in a range of gorgeous colors to suit every kitchen.

Meet L.A.'s small business cheerleader. She’s out to save mom-and-pops

WANTED for all the fine mom-and-pops struggling to survive in our city: Neighborhood cheerleaders to remind us that these shops and restaurants are out there, hurting, that they could use our visits and our orders and whatever spare dollars we have to spend.

Don’t take this on for the pay. There won’t be any. Just the payoff of helping small businesses you like cover their bills and keep the lights on.

And no need to volunteer if you’re close to Woodland Hills.

A whirlwind named Kimberly Holman-Maiden has that territory covered.

She posts bubbly live videos almost every day on Facebook from the hard-hit West Valley storefronts she spotlights each week, asking in post after post for 10 people or 15 people or 20 people to go sample the mango gelato at the Golden Rose Bakery or eat a funnel cake at the Funnel House or try on a buttery soft cotton jumpsuit at Wood ‘N’ Hanger or order a beet salad to go from Jinky’s Cafe.

Kimberly Holman-Maiden has been posting videos to Facebook almost every day to urge people to come into this boutique, which has struggled because of the pandemic.

Holman-Maiden didn’t exactly sign up for what’s become nearly a full-time gig. She’s just big-hearted and somehow started doing it — in her own inimitably charming, free-form and often hilarious way.

With her videos that don’t fuss over brushed hair or makeup or dogs barking or kids interrupting, with her emoji-sprinkled posts that don’t fret over spelling or grammar (whose or who’s, your or you’re — what’s the difference?), she’s become a one-woman paycheck protection program easing the pain for an ever-expanding list of neighborhood business owners barely hanging on, without any or adequate government aid and without the workers they’ve had to furlough or lay off, whose straitened circumstances add to the stress.

Not that Holman-Maiden, 39, didn’t have her own heaping plateful of worries before she began pep-talking her fast-growing number of followers into patronizing this boutique and that restaurant and the bakery just down the street.

She and her husband, Jared Maiden, have two kids — Austin, 10, and Ivy, 8 — who are now at home with her trying to figure out virtual school. She works for a company that in ordinary times arranges trips for groups of high school students. She manages her family’s 46-year-old British pub on Ventura Boulevard, where she grew up around the dartboards and the Guinness signs and the kitchen serving up shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash — and is now pulling several shifts a week.

Pickwick’s Pub, the family business, itself was pummeled by the COVID-19 shutdowns. How does a bar used to crowding people in for cheerful company and live music and trivia nights keep going when the crowds can’t come in?

Holman-Maiden, who grew up in West Hills and seems to know just about everyone in the area, took to social media to call out for people to help by ordering food to pick up — and the community responded. People from St. Mel’s Catholic School started placing large takeout orders. So did others looking to feed front-line workers — including a neighborhood boy named Jake Fitzgerald who raised $1,500 to pay for meals from Pickwick’s for hospital staff.

Pickwick’s was getting much-needed life support, which gave Holman-Maiden the notion that she should try to spread the magic. She needed some summer clothes, so in May she started a Facebook quarantine shopping group, asking for tips on local boutiques that maybe could use a boost. Within days, suggestions pouring in, she created what she calls the Maiden Community, which is now more than 2,500 members strong.

The Hollywood Bowl, its concerts canceled due to the coronavirus, reaches out with music and offers space to help feed the needy.

Sami Bennett, who owns the clothing and gift boutique Wood ‘N’ Hanger with her daughter, Carly Bennett, told me about the day in late May when “this sweet little thing came in and said, ‘All right, so I have this idea.’”

She’d get new customers to come into the boutique, she said — and in return, Bennett would commit to donating 10% of the money they spent into a pot that the Maiden Community would use to help people and good causes in the area.

Bennett says she’s gotten at least 40 new customers through Holman-Maiden, “and it spreads because there’s nothing like word of mouth.”

“And you know what?” she said about Holman-Maiden’s gift to her, “it couldn’t have come at a better time. I mean, we were closed for three and a half months. It was devastating.”

The boutique opened extra hours to accommodate the new visitors, Bennett told me, “and the most wonderful women came in here.”

“She’s like the Pied Piper,” she said of Holman-Maiden. “It’s her gift. People will follow her and go to places and support.”

Diamond Bakery on L.A.'s Fairfax Ave. has survived a lot over 74 years. Loyal customers and a GoFundMe campaign hope to carry it through the pandemic.

The Maiden Community gives them plenty of ways to do that. There are the visits to the shops and the Two-dollar Tuesday donations to the community pot — which are helping to do many things, including buying gym and cooling equipment for a local firehouse. Holman-Maiden is always asking for suggestions for new places to spotlight and setting up socially distanced outdoor gatherings. (This week, moms and kids met for “mocktails” at Jinky’s.)

And here’s a beautiful thing about what tends to happen next for those who get swept up into Holman-Maiden’s Facebook world. They make new friends and become part of a chain, helping more and more people as it goes. Businesses get more visits. The charity pot refills.

Sami Bennett told Holman-Maiden about Doan’s Bakery a few doors down, which the Maiden Community highlighted soon after. “It was amazing how many people came in because of that,” said Karen Doan, who with her son Eric owns the bakery — best known for her white chocolate coconut cake.

Now both the Bennetts and the Doans try to frequent the other places Holman-Maiden highlights. Sami Bennett says she tries to give to the community’s charity drives — such as the one for J.J. Woofin’ Paws Rescue Agency, to help heal a little dog named Roxy after she was hit by a car.

Holman-Maiden’s support chain keeps on growing and strengthening, though she tells me she wants to limit the number of businesses it focuses on. She doesn’t want people to visit the places she promotes one time and then move on. She wants them to keep coming back to the same places, as she does to remind them, and thus work toward their long-term survival.

It’s an approach that leads me back to a column I wrote recently about Diamond Bakery on Fairfax Avenue, a 74-year-old institution recently bought by a group of its employees and now fighting to get through the pandemic slowdown.

I would never have heard about the Maiden Community if a woman named Susie Comi hadn’t written to me after she read that column. Comi, a friend of Holman-Maiden’s family, thought I’d like to know about Holman-Maiden because she is doing just what I’d urged readers of the bakery column to do: lend support in any way they could to the small businesses they would hate to lose.

The weekend that column came out, there were lines outside Diamond, and money poured into its fundraising page.

Comi characterizes the Maiden Community as a Valley-style version of that kind of effort — “a bunch of suburban people getting things done.” She wanted me to know that Holman-Maiden is so focused on helping others that she didn’t even plug Pickwick’s, owned by her British-born parents, Craig and Lizz Holman of Blackpool, until her Facebook support group had been up and running for weeks.

It didn’t take me long to see this myself when I went to meet Holman-Maiden at Pickwick’s one night this week. After we chatted a bit, we went right next door to the Blue Water Cafe to meet Sam Khechen and Roya Khajeaian, whose Lebanese menu got her group’s star treatment long before the pub.

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Handcrafted in san francisco

The story of Three Sisters began in San Francisco’s beloved, historical bar St. Mary’s Pub, nestled in the hills of the Bernal Heights neighborhood. The bar had come to be known for its Bloody Marys featuring a menu of seven different varieties with the classic recipe as it’s shining star. The bloodies quickly gained both local and national acclaim. The owner Maria had a dream of making the delicious bloodies available beyond the walls of St Marys Pub. Her sister Marta and chosen sister Amy, shared that dream. After hard work in Maria‘s kitchen, trying to replicate the renowned made-to-order recipe, it all came together as what it is now THREE SISTERS BLOODY MARY MIX.

Every ingredient has been carefully chosen, from the fresh horseradish, the zesty fresh lemon/lime juice to the spicy hot sauce. Just add one shot of "holy water" (your booze of choice), ice, and you're good to go. Also great as a Michelada or virgin drink! We are three sisters and we bring you our tasty - and vegan! - labor of love.

Selwyn Avenue Pub owner speaks after being issued citation over COVID-19 restriction violation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A popular Myers Park pub cited for violating North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions responded Tuesday, saying they’re seeking clarity and apologize for any misunderstanding of the state’s Executive Order.

Selwyn Pub was cited for violating the governor’s coronavirus-related orders, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say. Over the weekend, Selwyn Pub announced on social media that it was temporarily closing its doors in response to climbing COVID-19 cases.

“Despite our best efforts, it is true that Selwyn Pub has recently received a citation for violating the North Carolina Executive Order,” Selwyn Pub said in a letter Tuesday. “We were not overcrowded and sincerely believed that we were following the letter and intent of the Executive Order.”

The pub said Sunday that their decision to temporarily close did not have to do with staff exhibiting symptoms of the virus, nor have there been positive cases found among them.

“No authority has suggested or required that we close our operation. We stand by our decision to voluntarily close during the surge,” Selwyn Pub said.

The pub said the Executive Order allowed restaurants to operate at 50-percent capacity, “and in an excess of caution,” the restaurant voluntarily limited the capacity to 37-percent. The pub also says all patrons were required to wear masks to enter and while not seated or actively consuming food or beverages.

“We have now been told that it is illegal to stand while drinking a beverage. We are currently seeking clarity on this issue and apologize if we misunderstood the ‘standing while drinking’ rule,” Selwyn Pub wrote. The pub says standing while drinking was the main issue the restaurant received when a COVID Ambassador paid them a visit Saturday.

According to Deputy Public Health Director Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County ambassadors were asked to contact Selwyn’s Pub and conduct four onsite visits between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14.

The health department said Selwyn Avenue Pub owners spoke with the county’s COVID ambassador supervisor on Nov. 14 regarding the “lack of social distancing, volume of people and general concern for public safety.” CMPD was then contacted by the supervisor to complete a follow-up visit due to the “lack of compliance noted by the COVID Ambassadors.”

Selwyn Pub says there was some back and forth conversation with the Ambassador and her supervisor, who were apparently both unable to “cite any authority” for their positions. The supervisor advised the pub to collaborate with CMPD, Selwyn Pub says, to clarify the issue.

“Instead of allowing these discussions to take place, the supervisor called in a complaint to CMPD that same evening," Selwyn Pub wrote in the letter. “To say that we are disappointed in the effectiveness of the COVID Ambassador program is an understatement.”

WBTV spoke to Doc Foster, the owner of the pub, Wednesday night. He said he had had constructive conversations with both the CMPD and COVID Ambassadors following his social media post Wednesday morning.

“We got off to a bit of a rocky start, but now that relationship is fine and (I’m) looking forward to working with them and for me it’s all positive,” said Foster.

The pub owner acknowledged that social distancing amongst customers at the pub hadn’t always been perfect during the pandemic.

“We’ve been here for 30 years. We try our best, but we want to learn from when we have not hit 100-percent,” said Foster.

He explained the challenges of trying to make sure customers keep an appropriate amount of distance from one another.

“We absolutely do not police them. These are our friends, our customers, they are people that want to be here and they want us to be successful and we more coax them. We try to be polite,” said the pub owner.

When asked if the customers frequently crowd together, Foster replied, “I wouldn’t say frequently, but often enough, as we reflect, to be an issue of concern and we have met with CMPD and we have actually designed a new flow plan.”

Foster explained that the pub had already been operating at less than 50-percent capacity.

The pub’s permits were also called into question Wednesday. Washington released a statement noting that the pub is not permitted to operate as a restaurant, and should be operating as a bar.

“The 50-percent occupancy limits for restaurants outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order 163 are not applicable as Selwyn Avenue Pub has not been properly permitted to operate as a restaurant. As per the Governor’s Executive Order 169, bars are limited to 30-percent capacity outdoors and seated-service only,” said the statement.

Foster said he was unaware of the permit discrepancy.

“They’re exactly right and I didn’t realize that until today. That’s again, taking responsibility,” noted the business owner.

He said he and his team will be working to get the permits necessary to reopen.

“We can’t always guarantee that we do everything right. We can guarantee the effort and that we will try and we do care,” said Foster.

November alone has seen three record-breaking days regarding virus numbers.

The pub closure extends to takeout services.

According to the statement, Selwyn’s Pub said it will spend an unspecified amount of time they’ll be closed cleaning and sanitizing, along with training.

Author Updates

USA TODAY BESTSELLER • In the debut of a delightful cozy mystery series, Sarah Fox introduces a charming new heroine who finds herself in a sticky situation: stacking pancakes, pouring coffee, and investigating murder.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes. Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.

Praise for The Crêpes of Wrath

“A very cute start to a new cozy mystery series . . . The red herrings are savory enough to be served as one of the dinner options in beautiful Wildwood Cove.”—Reading Reality

“I enjoyed every moment of this mystery from start to finish, and immediately found myself engrossed in Wildwood Cove living. It’s one of those cozy locales that’s a character itself.”—Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries & Meows

“I loved the characters, the seaside setting, and the suspense. Throw in some delicious-sounding recipes and a little romance, and this was an all-around wonderful cozy mystery.”—The Book’s the Thing

“Cute, action-packed, and engaging.”—Reading is My Superpower

“The writing was superb and the plot line was really well developed.”—Melina’s Book Blog

The Crêpes of Wrath is an intriguing whodunit tale that has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, secrets, a growing list of suspects, and surprising twists and turns, that it will easily keep you guessing the identity of the murderer.”—Jersey Girl Book Reviews

“A wonderful introduction to a brand new cozy mystery series.”—Book Babble

The Crêpes of Wrath is a delightful, intelligent book that proves to be a great start in a new series.”—Cozy Up With Kathy

“This is a new cozy series and I think it is going to be a winner.”—Storeybook Reviews

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath comes another decadent cozy mystery. This time, pancake house owner Marley McKinney is tangling with a salty troublemaker . . . and a ravenous killer.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

Tourist season’s in full swing in the small seaside town of Wildwood Cove, and Marley McKinney couldn’t be happier. Since taking over the Flip Side restaurant, she’s made a few close friends, adopted a cat named Flapjack, and started dating her childhood crush. The only cloud on the horizon is local nuisance Ida Winkler, who blames Marley for landing her nephew in prison. Trying to get a rise out of Marley, Ida’s been making crank calls and even vandalizing the pancake house.

The police can’t do much about the pranks, so Marley sets out to bury the hatchet once and for all. But someone’s beat her to it—in the most shocking way possible. After stumbling across Ida’s dead body, Marley’s suddenly the number-one suspect in her murder. Clearing her good name is going to be a tall order, but Marley’s not about to let Ida keep ruining her life—especially from beyond the grave.

“[A] wonderful blend of cozy, mystery, friendship and life in small town America” from the USA Today bestselling author of Of Spice and Men (Janis’s Journal).

Winter has come to Wildwood Cove and riding in on the chill is Wally Fowler. Although he’s been away for years, establishing his reputation as the self-proclaimed Waffle King, the wealthy blowhard has returned to the coastal community to make money, not friends—by pitting his hot and trendy Waffle Kingdom against Marley McKinney’s cozy pancake house, The Flip Side. Wally doesn’t see anything wrong in a little healthy competition, until he’s murdered in his own state-of-the art kitchen.

Marley isn’t surprised when the authorities sniff around The Flip Side for a motive, but it’s her best friend Lisa who gets grilled, given her sticky history with the victim. When a second murder rocks the town, it makes it harder than ever for Marley to clear Lisa’s name. Marley’s afraid that she’s next in line to die—and the way things are looking, the odds of surviving her investigation could be stacked against her.

Includes pancake recipes right from The Flip Side menu!

Praise for Sarah Fox’s Literary Pub Mysteries

“Hits all the right notes—a unique setting, friends and family, an intriguing mystery, and even the promise of romance.”—Sofie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

“Draws readers into the fold of suspects in Shady Creek and doesn’t let go until the culprit is uncovered. There are laugh-out-loud moments, hold-your-breath moments, and moments when you’ll think you have the mystery figured out, but the surprises keep coming!”—Amy M. Reade, USA Today bestselling author

Pancake house owner Marley McKinney takes a break from the Flip Side for a romantic getaway. But soon, instead of mixing batter, she’s mixed up with murder . . .

Marley and her new husband Brett need some quality couple time before the holiday madness, so they drive up into the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula to charming Holly Lodge. Before long they’re enjoying snowshoe excursions, hot chocolates, and cuddling in front of a roaring fire. Despite some barely concealed marital tension between the owners of the lodge, they’re finally able to unwind . . .

Until one morning when they notice a glove sticking out of a snowbank outside of the lodge. Inside the glove is a hand connected to a frozen corpse buried beneath the snow—lodge owner Kevin Manning has been murdered. Presented with a stack of suspects and eventually stranded at the lodge by a blizzard, Marley has to catch the cold-hearted killer before someone else gets iced . . .

Includes pancake recipes right from the Flip Side menu!

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:

Sarah Fox continues her USA Today bestselling series with a delicious new cozy mystery set around the Flip Side pancake house in the quirky beach town of Wildwood Cove—a treat for fans of culinary cozies by Joanne Fluke.

Murder is on the menu in the latest Pancake House Mystery, as a treasure trove of old letters spurs a killer to take some unsavory action. . . .

This summer, Wildwood Cove is hosting a special event, Wild West Days, to celebrate the town’s storied past. Wildwood Cove’s museum is also getting a new lease of life thanks to a longtime resident’s generous bequest. Several locals, including Marley McKinney-Collins, owner of the Flip Side pancake house, offer to transfer artifacts to the beautiful restored Victorian that will become the museum’s home. But there’s an unappetizing development when a volunteer, Jane Fassbinder, is found dead—bludgeoned with an antique clothes iron.

Marley can never resist a piping hot mystery, and this one seems especially intriguing. Jane had recently unearthed some love letters from the Jack of Diamonds, a notorious thief who plagued Wildwood Cove over a century ago. As more locals meet with dangerous “accidents,” it seems that someone is determined to keep that correspondence buried deep in the past. And unless Marley can sift through the likely suspects, she too could end up being nothing but history. . . .

Includes pancake recipes right from the Flip Side menu!

Praise for Sarah Fox’s Wine and Punishment

“Readers will cheer this brisk, literate addition to the world of small-town cozies.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Hits all the right notes—a unique setting, friends and family, an intriguing mystery, and even the promise of romance.”
—Sofie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of the Second Chance Cat mysteries.

“Draws readers into the fold of suspects in Shady Creek and doesn’t let go until the culprit is uncovered. There are laugh-out-loud moments, hold-your-breath moments, and moments when you’ll think you have the mystery figured out, but the surprises keep coming!”
USA Today bestselling author Amy M. Reade

Restaurants you have loved

Not only do we love to eat, we love the memory of food and the places at which we dined.

From regular hangouts or special occasion destinations, the Southland has a rich history of unique, privately owned restaurants that not only served up memorable food, but also had charm, character and spunk.

Thus, many of us have fond recollections of the region's restaurant landscape of old.

There was the renowned House of Hughes, where many of us went to mark an anniversary or birthday. With its spacious front yard and its annual display of holiday lights, it dressed up an otherwise unremarkable section of Cicero Avenue in Crestwood.

Oak Lawn had the sporty yet elevated Branding Iron, famous for both barbecue and bowling.

And there was Gino's Steakhouse in Harvey, where meat lovers went for fabulous cuts. A fire shuttered the south suburban location about 16 years ago, but Gino's carries on with two Northwest Indiana sites.

You've dined at these places, maybe celebrated at them, surely cringed at their closings. Even now, all these years later, you can taste the memories, because few things tap the senses like nostalgia. And with those memories of steaks and chops and potatoes and desserts come stories — your stories.

Last month I wrote about Jack Gibbons Gardens, one of the longest standing restaurants in the south suburban area. Owner Dave Lynch, a descendant of the namesake, talked about the early days, when the place was a speakeasy and popular hangout for cops and politicians. Those were the days when diners would drive out to the country to enjoy a decent steak, a freshly butchered chicken or the still-famous hash browns. For entertainment, there was a bear boxing ring out back.

I asked readers to share memories of some of their favorite places, eateries that are now gone but not at all forgotten.

Many responded with stories about their own visits to Gibbons, and many more sparked memories of places now in the history books. The anecdotes celebrate regular visits as well as family pilgrimages among folks who've moved far away. All of them stoke nostalgia.

Among the names that came up repeatedly: Phil Schmidt's in Hammond, Chuck Cavalini's in Midlothian, the Tivoli in Glenwood and Stump's Pub in Chicago Ridge. How could we forget Tokar's in Worth, The Cottage in Calumet City and Helen's Old Lantern in Blue Island?

Others recalled Dunlap's in Palos Heights, Tiffany's in Oak Forest, Cal's Roast Beef in Worth and Ken's Guest House in Oak Lawn.

"I don't even know where to begin," wrote Mike McCarthy, who grew up in the south suburbs but now lives in West Conshohocken, Pa. His maternal grandparents were patrons of Gibbons since it first opened. He remembers his grandfather taking the entire family there in the late '60s.

"There were 21 of us then, I'm guessing I was 5 years old, maybe younger."

He remembers his grandfather giving the kids a dollar to stop running around the table and stay in their seats. He also remembers Tess, a longtime waitress.

"When you're little, the smallest details stay with you, I remember a rite of passage was my grandparents and parents letting me order off the menu like my older cousins. Prior to that, they ordered fried chicken (some of the best I've ever tasted to this day) for the younger kids," he wrote.

McCarthy and his family celebrated many life events at Gibbons, including poignant visits with both his father and brother after they were diagnosed with cancer.

"In the last 19 years, I could probably count the times on one hand that I came home (to the Chicago area) and did not eat at Jack Gibbons, now more often than not there are multiple visits when I'm in town," he wrote.

Sadly, McCarthy lost both of those family members recently, his brother just this past March.

"I have the receipt from our last visit to Gibbons. I've dated the cork from a bottle of Heitz Cabernet we drank together, it was March 2nd. Yes, Gibbons is a great family-owned restaurant reasonably priced for what you get, located in the heart of the south suburbs, but it is so much more than that," he wrote. "Who saves receipts and dates corks from a restaurant they frequent all the time? Who takes the time to write a review and a response to an article you wrote about a restaurant as if it was a spiritual experience? How many restaurants can evoke such comfort, and reverence? Only one on my list: Jack Gibbons!"

Larry Voves, formerly of Chicago's Scottsdale community, now of Orland Park, sent this email:

"Any conversation about restaurants we have loved has to include the late, great Ken's Guest House on 99th and Southwest Highway. It was like going to some friend's home for dinner, only better. The food was always perfect, whether surf, turf or pasta. Service was great and Ken was usually around to greet the customers. It was an absolute gem."

Bob Pritchard has followed the journey of Italian Villa pizza since it began as Sam's on 63rd Street near Spalding in Chicago. Later, it became Joe's Italian Villa and enjoyed a long run at 80th and Harlem until a lost lease sent it further south to its current location at 122nd and Harlem in Palos Heights.

"All (have) used the same time-honored original recipe of a wonderful tomato sauce and their homemade sausage. Cooked to perfection," Pritchard wrote. "As a 74-year-old geezer, I travel from Homer Glen to get a pizza whenever possible. It seems like they never go away, thankfully. They just keep serving the World's Best Pizza. I hope they always keep on keeping on as others vanish."

Robert Hnatovi "loved the ribs" at Chuck Cavallini's in Midlothian.

Kathi Gerling, associate director of the office of academic affairs at the University of Chicago Biological Sciences department, said the south suburbs used to be a destination.

"All the restaurants I couldn't wait to go to when I was 21 were gone by then. The Log in Lynwood, The Cottage and Taste of Italy in Cal City, Tivoli in Glenwood, Gino's in Harvey. Mr. Benny's recently closed in Matteson. Now we have to go to Indiana or the Orland area for dining unless I go to Beecher to visit Princess Cafe."

Steve Livesey sent a long list of dearly departed eateries: Dragon Inn Chinese Restaurant, Homewood Cafe Borgia, Lansing Fazio's ala Italy, Palos Hills Senese's (connected to Barrel of Laughs Comedy Club), Oak Lawn.

Dorothy Park remembers: "We used to go to Santucci's Pizza on 62nd and Cicero. It was a family sit-down restaurant as well as carryout. They served a thin-crust pizza that was out of this world, back in the day (mid 1950`s). It was our favorite place."

Dave Willey has fond memories of Nino's Pizza in Matteson.

"I don't know when they opened, but I know as a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s that many considered that the best pizza. My family had their regular crust sausage pizza almost every Saturday."

Evert E. Kooyman, of Oak Lawn, likes the pizza at Vito and Nick's, "which is referred to as Nick and Vito's by the locals." He also still enjoys the chicken dinners at White Fence Farm, which has been open since the 1950s.

But he waxes nostalgic for a place not in Illinois but which he says is close enough to earn "an honorable mention:" Phil Schmidt's in Hammond, Ind.

"I don't know if it is still in business, but it was a favorite of my father's and local neighbors in the West Pullman neighborhood who loved the specials of fish or chicken dinners. It is one of the first restaurants I remember going to as a youngster, which was some time ago as I am pushing 80 very hard."

Sadly, Phil Schmidt's closed in 2007.

Kooyman said, "Returning to my younger years again there was the Homestead at approximately 119th and Vincennes Avenue, and Krapils, now at 6600 W. 111th, but in the '50s "on the Ave" in Roseland, a favorite after the dance for us Fenger High School kids.

"One last one, which maybe you can help with the name. This was west off of Ridgeland Avenue at about 122nd near Trinity College. It was about 100 yards into the woods and had a small pond behind the building. I'm sure this is no longer in business."

And that would be Dunlap's, a 60-plus-year-old restaurant that closed in 1998 and is still missed by many a south suburbanite, including Linda Retterer Welsh.

"No other restaurant serves the chicken and dumplings like theirs. The atmosphere — set in the woods — completed the package."

We could go on forever, fellow diners — The Old Barn in Burbank, The Green Shingle in Harvey, Jardine's in Tinley Park, Savoia's and Carlo Lorenzettis in Chicago Heights, Surma's in Homewood, The Flame in Countryside — but at some point, even this memory meal must end.

So I'll leave you with this:

After reading the story, Kathleen Sawicki said, "I feel like the 'answer ball' that you turn upside-down and get a message, because I just thought of one that used to be one of our all-time faves: Artie G's on Harlem and Route 83. Front inside with piano bar, tree-filled, with Italian lights, and a restaurant with fantastic food."

Famous in its day: Wolfie’s

Wilfred Cohen was an opener. He’d buy or start up a restaurant and once it became a success he would sell it for a nice profit. The former Catskills busboy came to Miami Beach around 1940 and bought Al’s Sandwich Shop on 23rd St. off Collins Ave., selling it after turning it into a popular spot “known coast to coast.”

Overstuffed sandwiches were his ticket. In a short ten years or so he opened and sold not only Al’s but four other restaurants, among them Wolfie’s at Collins and 21st St., which would become a landmark and continue until 2002. Wilfred “Wolfie” Cohen would keep just one of his restaurants, The Rascal House, located on motel row at 172nd St. Wolfie Cohen died in 1986 but his Rascal House survived until 2008.

In the end the original Wolfie’s at 21st Street became known as “the” Wolfie’s, but at one time there were at least two others of significance, a flashier Wolfie’s at Collins and Lincoln Rd. and another in North Miami Beach. Both closed around 1983. Whether Cohen was involved with all three is unclear but I am fairly sure that the Wolfie’s, original included, were backed by financial syndicates. There were also, at various times, Wolfie’s branches or franchises in St. Petersburg, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Cocoa Beach, and Jacksonville. Brooklyn NY’s Wolfie’s, though, was an entirely different operation.

The boom years for Wolfie’s and all of Miami Beach’s deli-style eateries came after World War II when Jewish veterans and retirees, mostly from New York and the Northeast, flowed into Miami Beach by the thousands as permanent residents, snowbirds, and tourists. Then, lines of people often wound around the block waiting to get into Wolfie’s. So closely was Wolfie’s identified with Miami Beach that in 1959 Northeast Airlines chose it to cater meals for Miami-to-NY passengers Lindy’s supplied delicacies to those flying south.

Wolfie’s was a 24-hour-a-day haven for the elderly living in kitchenless beachfront rooming houses (destined to be restored as art deco boutique hotels in the 1990s). It also attracted politicians looking for the liberal vote and visiting borscht-belt performers such as Milton Berle and Henny Youngman, as well as big and little gangsters and bookies with a yen for chicken livers, pastrami, and cheesecake. In the 1970s mobster Meyer Lansky, pursuing the simple life of a philosophical, Chevrolet-driving, book-borrowing library patron, was often spotted noshing in Wolfie’s.

By the mid-1980s, after the original Pumperniks closed (another Wolfie Cohen 1950s start-up), Wolfie’s was one of few, or perhaps the only, large-scale deli left on the South Beach. Pumperniks’ owner Charles Linksman attributed Wolfie’s survival to its proximity to theaters and boxing ring. That and tourism helped it get through the next decade, but a sense of decline was inescapable. The Beach’s population of Jewish retirees dropped dramatically, due to natural causes as well as a flight northward to Broward and Palm Beach counties to escape a perceived threat of crime and a cultural shift.

In its waning days Wolfie’s still managed to draw foreign and domestic tourists, such as moi, seeking vestiges of the old Miami Beach. I can’t remember what I ordered but I’m certain it wasn’t a Bowl of Sour Cream with Cottage Cheese ($4.75). I wasn’t quite in the “what’s a blintz?” category of so many patrons then, but close.

Pub Grub! 5 Much-Loved British Pub Foods to Make for Dinner

The world needs more British pubs. A place to find your friends after work and where you can take the family on weekends. Somewhere to pick up a pint of decent beer and have a hearty meal. I can taste the shepherd’s pie now. Can’t get to a pub? We can still enjoy our favorite pub foods at home.

Pub food is meant to be simple but rib-sticking. It’s actually only been relatively recently that British pubs have started offering much food at all. What they serve was usually what the pub owner’s wife could cook up and bring over. Of course, these days, pubs serve all manner of food, from kobe beef burgers to pot pies made with tofu and southwestern spices.

Let’s stick to the classics. You can’t go wrong with one of these dishes for dinner:

Welsh Rarebit from The Food Network
Ploughman’s Lunch from The Kitchn
Easy Shepherd’s Pie from Simply Recipes
Fish and Chips from Epicurious
Steak Pie from BBC Food


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