My inbox is full of ads for Mother’s Day. We’re excited to get together with our son and daughter-in-law to celebrate. Instead of roses, we typically buy perennials for our yard that keep flowering year after year. We were at the garden center on Friday.
I miss celebrating mother’s day with my mom, who passed in 2010. One year, dad and I went to the garden center and bought a maple tree that we planted in front of the house to shade the porch where she liked to sit on summer evenings. The tree is still there. The house is not. Often there would be a trip to Fellows Gardens. But her favorite thing was to go out for a good steak. We often went to the Brown Derby, a popular place for Mother’s Day until it closed and later to Steak and Ale on South Avenue in Boardman. But I also remember going to Palazzo’s on Midlothian. Great Italian, veal parmigiana, and steaks. Or Lucianno’s in Austintown. When things were tighter, it was a bucket of Golden Drumstick Chicken, which she loved.
I thought for this post I would look at some of the places we took our moms fifty years ago in the Youngstown area. I found a number of restaurants including those above in The Vindicator from May 8, 1971. Get ready for a walk down memory lane! Sure enough, there was an ad for Palazzo’s. Steaks, traditional dinners, spaghetti, and homemade lasagna. All of the restaurants offered children’s menus at special prices. At the Golden Steer Smorgasbord by the turnpike, it was all you could eat for the princely sum of $2.95 with children under 10 at half price! Even The Mansion, one of the more elegant restaurants, had a special menu for Mother’s Day, with children’s servings.
Of course you wanted to take Mom to the nicest place you could afford. Here’s two restaurants that listed prices that were a bit more expensive. At the Town & Country on the Strip on Route 422, my mom could have gotten a petite filet mignon for $4.50, with mushrooms! At the Avalon, you could get prime rib for $5.25. I wonder what it would cost at one of their restaurants today. You would dress up to go to these places–nice dresses and jackets and ties. But mom was worth it.
Families couldn’t always afford the really nice places. There were options all around town for an inexpensive dinner out. Gays in the McGuffey Plaza had a number of dinners ranging from $1.45 for a three piece chicken dinner to $1.95 for home-made ravioli. Tambellini’s on the north side offered a lasagna dinner for mom for $.89! Others paid regular price. Then there was the Harvest House at Southern Park Mall with a $1.29 roast turkey dinner. There were even free gifts for the youngest mother, the oldest mother and the mother with the most children (she definitely deserved a prize!)
Then there was Burger Chef. Remember Burger Chef? They had a deal for a family of four for $1.89 (or more food for fewer people). They did this every Sunday. Other fast food chains also had special offers. Morgan’s Family Restaurants offered of relishes, salad or cole slaw, all you can eat chicken, ham, or top sirloin, two sides, a desert and beverage for $3.50. That’s a lot of food! Remember Red Barn? They offered a barnfull of chicken (nine pieces, a pint of coleslaw, and rolls for $2.99. Like fish? Mom could get FREE fish and chips at Arthurs Treacher’s–“the healthiest sea food in the world.” They must have something on the ball though. They are still in business on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown. [Correction: I learned after posting that the restaurant formerly known as Arthur Treacher’s is now doing business as Captain Arthur’s, with a similar menu. The change occured about a year ago.]
I’ve touched on just a fraction of the good places. Many didn’t need to advertise. Where did you like to take your mother?
Looking at all that food is making me hungry and bringing back memories. The best, though, was letting mom know how special she was.
To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!