CURT'S VIRTUAL TOUR
Through the magic of modern technology, you're still going to have to use your imagine as I take you on a virtual restaurant tour through my neighborhood. We'll start in Reynoldsburg, which was considered "out in the country" when I was young. It's hard to imagine Brice Road with two lanes and lined with houses, and East Main from Noe Bixby to Old Reynoldsburg was practically non-existent. First up is Don's Briarcliff (now a Burger King at East Main and Briarcliff), a small drive-in with a cool neon sign depicting an old sedan driving forward and back. Our next stop would be the Twin Kiss, just west of Rosehill Road on East Main. It was just a little booth of an ice cream stand, but they were the first that I can recall to mix the chocolate and the vanilla flavors into one cone! Headed west, we past the afore mentioned Longhorn Steak House, which was located just behind Howard's Hobby Store where most of my fondest ghosts reside. And now it was a lengthy ride past run down bars until we reached the eastern edge of Whitehall. Beginning at Country Club Road--that was my neighborhood--the action really picked up. On the right side was and is Del Matto's Cucina Italiano, and then Miles East Main Drive-In Theater. Across the street is Frisch's Big Boy, just a few more yards away on the right is Dog 'N Suds Drive In. We approach Great Eastern Shopping Center, home of the Big Bear, Grant's Store, and Gray Drugs in the 1960s. After the obligatory stop at the fabric store (I'm still having nightmares about fabric), Mom usually takes us to Isaly's (if we've behaved in the grocery) for the "skyscraper" black raspberry ice cream cone. The cone resembles Beldar Conehead's cranium, and almost always wound up on the seat of the car before arriving home. If you were hungry, you could even order an Isaly's Swiss Cheese sandwich, or brave the dangers of David's Buffet (aka Duff's Smorgasboard). Across Hamilton Road is the whirling satellite of the BBF and Lum's, famous for steaming their hot dogs in beer. Just south on Hamilton Road is Shakey's Pizza, the Taco Rancho, and the Taco Bell. At the intersection of Fairway Blvd. and Hamilton is Grandma's Original Recipe Chicken and our only neighborhood McDonald's. Headed south out of Great Eastern, you'd run into Pete's Red Pig Diner (now a CVS Pharmacy) on the corner of Hamilton and East Main. Continuing South on Hamilton Road, Saxon's Roast Beef is on the right (next to the old Huntington Bank), Kentucky Fried Chicken is across the street, and just a bit further south, you can still find Tommy's Pizza at the corner of Livingston and Hamilton. Before you turn West onto Livington, you could have stopped into Shady Lane Pharmacy (now a pre-school) which was one of the last sit-down soda fountains I can ever remember. Across the street, next to the firehouse, was Cooper's Drugs where I bought all of my baseball and football cards. Headed west on Livingston, you can still pass the Resch's Bakery (which is where I got to go if I'd really been good), home of the best chocolate chip cookies ever before they started slipping walnuts into them (like I wouldn't notice!). In the same parking lot sits our original eastside Wendy's. And just past the post office, nothing but memories where the old Burger Chef and TAT used to be. Turning right on Courtright, we head back over to East Main Street. Few remember that Main Street is the original Route 40, so it shouldn't seem strange to find the Bambi, Homestead, and Alamo Hotels lining East Main in Whitehall. But alas, most of those are now gone as well, as is the Eastside Drive-In Theater which was located just across the street from the popular Robinwood Pharmacy (with a soda fountain). The huge Zayre's Department Store is now Speedz indoor go-cart racing, and the Burger Chef in the front lot rests under an AutoZone. The original building which housed former Buckeye All-American's "Jim Otis Time Out" Lounge still stands empty, but several of the old eastside taverns such as "The Silent Woman" and Mary Mo's "Stop 40" are still busy (although Mary Mo isn't sharing the marquise anymore).
Thanks for joining me on this tour...I'd be happy to visit your neighborhood memories sometime.