Famous Eating Places of Yesteryear

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Famous Eating Places of Yesteryear


Many places in Richmond and Madison County have been famous for their food. And eating has always been a favorite hobby of Madison Countians. I remember some of them, and am indebted to longtime residents of Richmond for information about other famous restaurants, tea rooms, and boarding houses where good food was served and where good times were had.

Not in any particular order and not totally inclusive here are some to jog your memory and your stomach juices; Tip Toe Inn, corner of South Second and Summit, Jim Shaw; Du Climbe Inn, South Second and Main (upstairs over Stanifers-now Jett & Hall), Mrs. Cleo Stanifer and Mrs. Nora Perkins; Happy Hour Tea Room, West Main (in old K.U. building before it burned), Alma Rice and Margaretta Smith;

Joe’s corner of Main and North Third, Joe Guinchigliani with assistance from Edna, Evalina (Eeny), Norma, Little Joe, and Marion (Tootsy); Cousin Jo’s Restaurant, Mrs. Jo Cosby; Cosby’s Boarding House, North Second; Goosman’s Restaurant and Bakery, East Main Street, Marguerite Goosman (who presided in the main dining room and had lovely red hair) aided in the kitchen by Mrs. Emily Collins, Mrs. Lizzie Crutcher and Miss Jane Ballew, with Miss Nannie Jones and Joe Tribble waiting on the customers;

Glyndon Hotel, Main Street, many persons have managed the dining hall which only closed for good in the 1960s -- some of the early ones were George Corzelius, Mr. and Mrs. Smyers, Mrs. Jo Cosby, and Miss Fannie Culton; Davidson’s Boarding House, Lancaster Ave.; Mrs. Stauffer’s Boarding House, corner of Breck and High Streets where mainly Eastern Normal School faculty members ate and some met future spouses; Benault Inn, West Main Street, one of the last to close; Ideal Café, West Main popularly known as Nancy’s, which was run at different places by Harry and Nancy Scalos from 1924 until their retirement in the 1960’s -- closed for good 1969.

The Boone Tavern in Berea is world famous, but how many remember Slate Springs Hotel several miles south of Berea, which also served good food? And did any of you ever spend any time over beyond Big Hill at Mallory Springs? One place not in Madison, but very popular with Madison Countians was the Estill Springs Hotel near Irvine. It served excellent food and had a smooth as satin dance floor, reputed to be built on coiled wire springs.

Also in the county, but in another direction stood the Boonesborough Hotel, right at the edge of the famous beach. It was noted for its food as far back as the ‘20’s and I attended a Junior-Senior banquet there in the middle 1940’s. The Boonesborough Fort Sesquicentennial banquet was held there in the 1930’s.

Of course, it is the cook who makes the eating place famous, not the name, nor the proprietor. Probably the most famous cook in Richmond in the 1920’s and ‘30’s was a handsome Negro lady named Ellen Scudder, known in particular for her baking of old country hams and for marvelous and beautifully decorated cakes. She presided over her kitchen with a queenly dignity and graciousness.

And so, while men dream of grand home cooked meals prepared in the Madison County of yesteryear, the women breathe a prayer of thanks for frozen TV dinners and automatic dishwashers. Or do they say, "Why don’t you take me out to eat tonight?" So take her; but for the famous eating places mentioned above you are born 30 years too late.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Famous Eating Places of Yesteryear,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed September 30, 2023, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/679.