Recalling tasty memories of bygone Bay eateries
Part of a passage in Tara Wendell’s article in the Feb. 5 issue of the Observer about Mayor Sutherland's Bay resident satisfaction survey put me in a nostalgic mode.
Among the relatively few areas of frustration cited in the survey, a “shortage of restaurants/bars” was listed. Seeing that quickly got my memory cells energized to recall the dining-out options that existed within the city of Bay Village in the mid-1960s to 1970s, when I was among its residents.
As I remember, the Peach Tree Restaurant was the only general menu, full-service dining spot in town before closing in the early- to mid-70s. Peach Tree was located in the old Kroger plaza at Dover Center Road and the railroad tracks (now the Dover Junction shopping complex), situated just north of the Cunningham Drug Store.
After Peach Tree closed I recall a number of different restaurants occupying that space, none seeming to stay very long, but it was the Peach Tree Restaurant I'll always picture there.
Speaking of the Peach Tree Restaurant, for a certain period of time my mom, Pat Hirschfeld, would stop there for lunch once or twice during the week. There she would join an assemblage of folks who would sit at a big round table near the front of the house presided over by Gladys Zipp. It was Mrs. Zipp whose family owned the land the plaza – including the Peach Tree – was built on, as well as the Zipp Manufacturing Company that once stood behind the plaza. My mom knew Mrs. Zipp through league bowling at Bay Lanes. According to my mom it wouldn't be unusual to see community leaders as well as a general cast of characters at the table with Gladys "holding court," a good time being had by all.
Here are a few scenarios illustrating the dining-out options I recall being available while residing in Bay Village: After dining at Peach Tree, I’d often walk over to the northern end of the plaza for a frozen treat at Dairy Queen, which still occupies that location. For those occasions when I desired a more traditional hand-dipped ice cream cone, cozy Hardman’s Ice Cream was the place to go in the Bay Shopping Center at Wolf and Dover roads. Hardman’s would end up closing in the early 1970s, I believe, to eventually be replaced in the Bay Shopping Center by Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, itself no longer open at that location.
If I wished to grab a quick sandwich, both the old Bay Delicatessen on Dover Center near West Oviatt and Grebe’s, fronting Wolf Road in the Bay Shopping Center, featured small lunch counters.
Toward the mid-70s a small carry-out place named Village Pizza found its way into the Bay Shopping Center, but Bay’s “official” pizzeria of the era had to be La Vozio’s in the small shopping plaza off of Clague Road. La Vozio’s had a few sit-down booths inside and served a limited number of items other than pizza, so it was essentially a small restaurant in addition to selling a lot of pies to go.
If there’s a feeling nowadays that Bay’s dining-out options are somewhat limited, they seemed to be even more so when I called the city home. However, there were many restaurants located nearby in Westlake and other neighboring suburbs providing a variety of dining options.
With the nature of the city of Bay Village's commercial lots being relatively few in number and generally concentrated in the center of town, the environment didn’t seem to be conducive to hosting very many public dining facilities, particularly large national chains.
Now that I live in Westlake, I’m surrounded by dining options. Still, when I resided in Bay the fact that there weren’t many restaurants and dining spots around seemed to actually enhance the city’s charm and uniqueness.
I'm a longtime resident of the Bay Village and Westlake area (Bay 1965 to 1977, then Westlake since) who has always enjoyed living here while seeing lots of change over the years.