Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chow List: 12 Dead Restaurants From 1989

I unearthed an old Polk's Cd'A City Directory from 1989 at St.Vincent du Paul Thrift Store recently for one greasy dollar. Wow, 20 years ago! Scanning through the listed restaurants, the memories started trickling back, some pleasant, others not so much (Spats, anyone?). I could write entire columns about some of these ghosty joints, but for now I'll keep it sorta brief. I'd really love to see your comments and obscure memories about these long-gone favorites from 20 years ago...

1. Mr. Steak (605 Emma Ave.)
Now: medical center parking lot
It was every family's default gathering spot for after church, funerals, grandparents day, and best of all, your steak dinner was free on your birthday. I miss this place still; the green polyester napkins, the baskets of hard rolls with gold foil butter packs, the bouffant waitresses sporting some kind of barfy plaid get-up. Mr. Steak was a stone cold classic: cheap, satifying and totally utilitarian.

2. Ritz Cafe (501 W. Appleway)
Now: Mattress Land
This was an attempt at a '50's rock-n-roll themed 24-hour diner that was a big hit for a while, especially among us teenagers who would sit and drink coffee for hours and hours on end and eat baskets of french fries with ranch dressing and chain smoke. They didn't seem to mind us, even when we harassed the seniors who also seemed to hang out forever. Bright blue and red neon and endless golden oldies. A fun place.

3. Henry's (1001 Sherman Ave.)
Now: Dan Davis Realty
With Henry's, my roots run deep. My mother's old high school co-hort established this plush bar and bistro, and she worked there as a hostess for many years. She dated the bartender for a while, her best girlfriend was the house manager, and her best friend/gay sidekick was a waiter there. My very first job was as a dishwasher/prep cook at Henry's at age 15 and I hated it. I loved the food however, most memorably Joe's Special with spinach and scrambled eggs and the Wagon Wheel chicken pasta salad that I still crave occasionally. It closed suddenly and a tight-knit family of staff and regulars was tragically shattered.

4. Jimmy D's Cafe (320 Sherman Ave.)
Now: Pita Pit
This was the most popular eatery downtown for a while and deservedly so, it was elegant but affordable, had a relaxed jazzy atmosphere, and endless bottles of local wines years before that kind of thing was really trendy. Eventually relocated across the street as "Jimmy D's Wine Cellar" before Jim Duncan retired and they shortened the name to its present state.

5. Log Cabin Restaurant (213 W. Appleway)
Now: Kelly Services/Appleway Chiropractic
Liver and Onions. Ugh! My parents loved it and I specifically remember trips to the Log Cabin Restaurant just for that reason. Pretty sure I had spaghetti instead. Seems like it was a fairly chi-chi kinda place at first, but by 1989 it was just another breakfast/lunch hash house, and it didn't survive too long into the '90's.

6. The Atrium (757 W. Appleway)
Now: Top of China Buffet
In the 80's, it was still halfway classy, the last remnant of the singles lounge 70's. A few years later it would devolve into mega-sleazy dance club "Players", a total meat market that could actually be fun once in a while. Scary but fun.

7. Bonanza (221 W. Appleway)
Now: Tomato Street
Memories of this one are so fuzzy, but it seems like this was sort of a cross between a prototype Applebees and a farm-themed hospital cafeteria. my mind conjures phosphorescently lit images of fake plastic steaks and grilled chicken, photogenic baked potatoes with chives and bacon bits, and bland white macaroni salad. Actually, I'm pretty sure a whole salad bar was involved and it wasn't pretty.

8. Father Guido's (400 Northwest Boulevard)
Now: Kootenai County Offices
Born as Pappy's Pizza, this was one of the last of it's kind, a pizza place where the whole family could keep entertained complete with video games, a jukebox, shag carpeting, pitchers of cold beer, wrought iron railings to climb on, big loud televisions. Soon Pizza Hut, Godfathers and the other chains would come along to ruin all our fun with their corporate homogenization and speedy home delivery.

9. Papino's (315 Walnut Ave.)
Now: Anthony's Midtown Bistro
Ground zero for killer Italian food for a very long time in Cd'A, I don't think anyone will ever be able to replicate the manicotti and garlic bread they served up in times of joy and crisis. I have the saliva-inducing scent of walking into Papino's lobby forever etched into my brain.

10. Rosauers Family Restaurant (225 W.Appleway)
Now: Tuesday Morning
The food was never very good, but there was something homey and loveable about this geriatrically inclined family diner. Meat and potatoes and gravy and everything was squishy and bland. She didn't age gracefully at all and she was looking pretty ghetto, but I was a faithful devotee, especially for breakfast, until the bitter end three years ago when they shuttered the Cd'A Rosauers store for good. Lordy, bring it back!

11. Topper Too (2812 N. Government Way)
Now: Les Schwab parking lot
Paul Bunyan's burgers etc. are somewhat similar, maybe cousins to the greasy lovebombs served by the hefty girls of the Topper Too, but not twins. The cuisine at the Topper was even more gung-ho and pro on the trans-fatty tip. Where else could you get a Pineapple Coke? It was a miracle that the drive-up squawk box outside ordering system still even functioned at the end. Still crying hippo tears to think I'll never taste those onion rings again. Sigh.

12. 3rd Street Cantina (201 N.3rd)
Now: Los Palmitas
It was like a cross between a Mexican gay discotheque and an island safari with yak leather chairs, mirrored walls, bamboo huts, stuffed zebras, giant ceramic parrots hanging from gold hoops, and white shag carpeting. Woah, was our little town ready for it? Great concept, great food, and legendary in it's heyday.


Huckleberries Online said...

31 comments on this post so far. Add yours!
Me on February 05 at 1:21 p.m.

Love this stuff OTV.

Mr Steak - my Mom ALWAYS took us there for our Birthdays (free steak!!).

Atrium - had a reputation. I only went there a few times, but there were always fights etc. And didn't the owner get shut down because of stippers or something?

Bonanza - ahhh - buffet!

Papinos - yes Jr High hangout.

Rosauers Family restaurant - my husband and I met there for lunch many times - good food.

Tooper Too - best onion rings EVER

3rd Street Cantina - best Happy Hour!! A huge group of us from work used to go there on Fridays - ALOT.
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toadman on February 05 at 1:22 p.m.


Really? There was a Bonanza here once? Funny. Down in Texas we used to call that “the old folks home.” Why? Well, on Sundays, after lunch, it seemed to always be filled with hungry Octogenarians. It was no surprise that an Ambulance hung around the parking lot all the time.

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Patrick Hoffer on February 05 at 1:25 p.m.

I have a warm place in my heart for Bonanza. It was my first job and problably one of the reasons I ended up starting my own little cafe. It was fun and when everything was going right it was a great place. I left about 2 years before Bill closed it and it always made me sad to see it go downhill before the end.

Its not on the list but God do I miss the Rocket Drive In. Wish I had been older and had some way to buy it when it closed.
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Me on February 05 at 1:28 p.m.

Ahh the Rocket was great….. Wasn't Bonanza where Tomato Street is now? There was a buffet place out by the mall too wasn't there?
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Patrick Hoffer on February 05 at 1:34 p.m.

Ya, Bonanza was where Tomato Street is now and Ponderosa was where Applebees is now.
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DFO on February 05 at 1:38 p.m.

I have fond memories of things that happened to my family or me in at least half of those places. The best pizza I ever ate was baked by Papino's one evening after I'd spent the day in freezing temperatures moving former NIC PRmeister Steve Schenk and his wife, Gretchen, into a house near Sanders Beach. But the funniest thing that happened — hands down — occurred in Topper, Too. After a softball game, I was eating a cone with other players on my team when we heard a shriek from the men's bathroom. The 3YO son of one of the players had gotten his teetee caught in his zipper. The kids was in pain. But he reserved the greatest howls for his father's attempt to cut him out of the situation. Papa had asked for a knife from the Topper, Too crew. When the kid saw him approach, he thought his pop was going to cut off his, ah, extension. Great fun! We still laugh about that one at my house.
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Kage_Mann on February 05 at 1:40 p.m.

I used to work at the Log Cabin years ago.

Has the owl cafe in Hayden gone out of business also?

I used to go to the third street cantina,after playing raquetball at
the old CDA athletic club.
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DFO on February 05 at 1:40 p.m.

A half dozen places existed in the current Tomato Street building. I first ate there in the late '70s when it was a pizza place called Granny Goose or something like that. Tomato Street and Bonanza seem to be the only businesses in the building that had long-term success.
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Patrick Hoffer on February 05 at 1:43 p.m.

Before Bonanza it was Rocky Rococo's Pizza and before that it was I believe a Fudrucker's
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Lynne on February 05 at 1:43 p.m.

* Ritz Cafe - worked graveyard their for a while
* Henry’s - practically lived there five days a week for ten years or so. Right across the street from my office and my best friend worked there. We had lunch there every day and happy hour/cards every afternoon. OTV, I'm sure I would know your mom…
* Jimmy D’s - Best chicken caesar salad ever!
* The Atrium - Owner was a scumbag from h*ll, but I had several friends that worked there, and it was close to my apartment, so I'd hang out in the early afternoons.
* Papino’s - Only ate there once but the owner also managed some apartments I lived in and I came home to find her snooping in my windows more than once.
* Rosauer’s Family Restaurant - The graveyard crew from the old TJ's Pantry used to go in every morning when we got off at 6, because it was the only place in town we could get beer and wine. Everyone else would be stumbling in for coffee and breakfast and we'd be having our *happy hour*
* Topper, Too - Loved their hot dogs and finger steaks
* 3rd Street Cantina - Best chicken taquitos ever. Spent many a summer afternoon in that place.

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Lynne on February 05 at 1:44 p.m.

DFO, I was trying to remember the name of that pizza place too. I loved their pizza.
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DFO on February 05 at 1:58 p.m.

Kage Mann; Owl Cafe is still going strong in Hayden. Although it looks pretty tacky alongside all the new businesses opening along Government Way in that part of the county.
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Me on February 05 at 2:22 p.m.

I used to eat at the Owl alot about 15 years ago - because it was close to work. I didn't know then that it was Butlers hangout. I probably wouldn't have gone in had I known.
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Kage_Mann on February 05 at 2:25 p.m.

DFO on February 05 at 1:40 p.m.

A half dozen places existed in the current Tomato Street building. I first ate there in the late '70s when it was a pizza place called Granny Goose or something like that.

DFO;I also ate pizza there in the late 70's.Wasn't it
called:Lil' Big Mens Pizza Place' ? Or am I way off?

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Bent on February 05 at 2:35 p.m.

I was a prep cook at Cedars before becoming the head cook at “the other place,” which was owned the same people who owned the Cedars before it became the Atrium.

My wife managed Topper Too for most of the 1980s.

I also cooked at Cyrus O'leary's, which morphed into Country Kitchen before Bonanza, and others which eventually led to Tomato street (where my daughter waits tables now).

I did some time at Chinese Gardens as well… what a nightmare job that was.
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Jen on February 05 at 2:40 p.m.

We loved Topper, Too. We would always get the shake of the week and fries with lots of dip. It was fun to order from the car and have the food brought out to us.

My favorite on this list though is Mr. Steak. We went there for birthdays and date nights and any special occasion. We even went there on our wedding day after all the festivities. Still to this day when we're trying to decide where to eat out, one of us will say, “Mr. Steak.”
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DFO on February 05 at 2:41 p.m.

Kage; you could be right. Little Big Men's Pizza is one of the previous businesses that I recall sorta. I should ask my buddy Doug Clark, who was editor of the CDA Press in the late '70s/early '80s. He was the one who treated me to the Granny Goose incarnation. I once wrote a Huckleberries column in which I named all the places that had used that space. I should dredge that up again.
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DFO on February 05 at 2:44 p.m.

My daughter waited tables at Tomato Street and Chili's during the summer while attending UPortland. Now that she's cutting her teeth in the PR biz, I can tell you that she had some horror stories re: what goes on behind the scenes at Tomato Street. Some weird management issues during her time there. Chili's was a big step up in terms of management/labor relationships. Dunno if the same thing goes on now at Tomato Street. I do know that it remains a good place for customers. And still has one of the best atmospheres in town.
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hmoffsuite on February 05 at 2:44 p.m.

I would have to mention Jacksons. Where the Beach House is now and was the Intrepid before that.
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florined on February 05 at 2:50 p.m.

OTV, do you have pictures of Marie's Cafe? It was on Government Way and Appleway. It was open all night and so became the after-the-bars-closed breakfast mecca.
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shinie on February 05 at 3:20 p.m.

I know I always have the same comment, but I still miss Mr. Steak on a regular basis. It was the best place for a family steak or prime rib dinner. Although, I think it's really the bread I miss the most. It was SO good!
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toadman on February 05 at 3:49 p.m.

“I have a warm place in my heart for Bonanza.” - Patrick

You'd better have that looked at…
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Bent on February 05 at 3:52 p.m.

Yeah DFO, the way I hear it, those issues may still be there, but my daughter is pretty hard to steam roll.

She definitely has a mind of her own, and if she feels she is being treated unfairly, she'll engage the situation and will not relent until there is a resolution… trust me I know.
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Howard_Martinson on February 05 at 4:26 p.m.

What about that pizza joint on NW blvd. close to the Courthouse? I couldn't tell you the name of it if you held a gun to my head. Seems like it changed hands often and had one name after the other. Then it was the Chamber office for a while, and might have been rented to The County for a few years.
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Amy67 on February 05 at 4:39 p.m.

I loved that Pizza place on NW blvd. and before I read the post, I could have told you the name of it. Used to go there as a kid and watch them make the pizzas. It was always the place to go for birthdays etc. The combo pizza was fabulous; grease running down your arms…..yum.
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Bent on February 05 at 4:47 p.m.

It was Pappy's Pizza. That is where everyone went for Pizza when I was growing up
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inlandempiregirl on February 05 at 6:48 p.m.

We hosted a twenty-fifth anniversary party for my parents at the Log Cabin. They really liked that place.
When my husband and I got “hitched” in CdA at The Hitching Post we then had our private wedding lunch at 3rd St. Cantina.
The Intrepid was a “cool place” to go eat when I hit adulthood and the Fore and Aft was the place to go hang out on couches and drink blended type of drinks. Gee… we spent a lot of time in CdA!
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S & S Herb on February 05 at 7:28 p.m.

One of my favs was the Sizzler down on Lincoln. Closed for many years now.
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S & S Herb on February 05 at 7:29 p.m.

The worst that I can remember, was the franchisee in the North Shore. Plaid Piper, I think it was called. Here they sat in the classiest hotel in town and any fast food place in town could beat their food.
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Escapee on February 05 at 9:26 p.m.

I did a couple of tours of duty as a Dishwasher at the Ritz Cafe. Ugh. I got real good at cleaning grease traps.

Pappy's Pizza was wonderful. A large, hot, spicy 16” 'Coeur d'Alene Special' cost $5.60. After Cruising Sherman on weekend nights, we'd all end up at Pappy's. Good times.

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Bob on February 06 at 7:29 a.m.

We used to go to Joey's Superfatburger on 6th in Midtown by the old fire station (across from what is now that new Interior Design store) when we were kids. We'd order the really big Superfatburgers, the double deluxes with sides of fried zucchini rings and fry sauce or sometimes we'd have big greasy baskets of roasted pinecone seeds with Joey's special pinecone seed sauce. I think it closed around 1972 0r 1973 when Joey was arrested for starting fires in logging camps up on the North Fork.

Kim said...

OMG, All I can think about is, how many of our friends worked at one or another (or multiple) of these restaurants in our adolescence. LOVED reading this and remembering the Sunday afternoons at Mr Steak, Roseaurs, even Topper with my folks.

Kelly said...

Anybody remember the Apple Barrel?

Andi said...

"PAPINO'S": To those of you that remember Papino's fondly, we the family thank you. It was a pleasure to cook and serve our family recipes. Over the years we made many friends through our little restaurant. It was "Our home" away from home. We not only had family working there, we also had dear friend's that we had grown up with, working side by side with us, that helped to make Papino's, what it was. One of the bloggers mentioned something about one of the owners managing apartments building's, and coming home to find her looking into her window's. Let me please set the record straight!!!!! No one in the Papino's family ever managed apartments. Frankly, we never had the inclination to do so, and most definitely we never would have had the time. I think that the blogger, a fore mentioned, has us confused with a women that once worked for us. Her name was Monica, and she indeed did manage apartments. I just felt the need to clear that up !!! Our family, would hate to think that our former customer, would read this site, and think that we were a bunch of peeping tom's !!! LOL.
Thanks for your loyalty. The Papino family.

Suzie and Jim Hite, Andi Brooks, and Angie Bedini

Helen McFarland said...

Picked up on this old posting when searching for recipes. Great walk down memory lane. I still maintain that Pappy's made the best pizza ever. Sausage and black olive - yum!

Helen said...

No one has mentioned the Topper In 'n Out, the original Topper. It was the turn around point for cruising Sherman. Remember cruising - the way we used to kind of see who was out and about?
And say what you may about Rosauer's Restaurant, they had the best carrot cake short of homemade,

Anonymous said...

How about Pappy's Pizza (later Breezy's Pizza)?

Anonymous said...

Dip-n-Deli across from Lakeshore Volkswagen.

Anonymous said...

Wow memory lane! Man I loved Pappy's Pizza....

Here's some more for you guys...
Dairy Delight on Sherman, awesome tacos
Meullers (sp) / Black Forest on Sherman
Modern Drug store's Restraunt (good burgers amazingly)
Wagon Wheel , early 70's (just north of what is Longear now)
Great American Restraunt , Hayden area
Also in same place Tomato Street, Schwackhammers


Anonymous said...

I am sad to this day that Papinos closed their doors. As for Rosauers Restaurant, I worked there for years and could go on and on with horror stories from inside the kitchen. As for the carrot cake, the only reason that was good is because that was made in the bakery inside the store and not in the restaurant.

Anonymous said...

If people knew a quarter of what goes on in a restaurant kitchen they would never eat out again!!!!

Big Bear said...

Jimmy D's. Only in CDA would you find a blues bar named Jimmy D's run by a white guy.

Anonymous said...

Before Tomato Street, Before Bonanza was Gladys Pizza, with geese in a little pin on the front lawn. One of the geese had a crippled foot. Also, M's Family Restaurant which then became Granny's Buffet and is now the Dragon House. McDonalds used to have saddles for seats. Godfathers Pizza used to be on the corner of 4th and appleway.

Keith Briggs said...

Great trip down memory lane. My favorite was Papino's. I still dream about their Combo plate and omg their bread.The bread was nothing short of amazing. I for one did not like the new location. The small house on Walnut was so much a part of the charm that was Papino's. I did not mind waiting an hour for a table it was expected on friday and saturday nights. It was "the" place to go for romantic date nights.

Anonymous said...

remember Prety's on Sherman and sunshine trader by the north side of the Park?? The Co-op where the Museum is now...?