Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fascinating History of Restaurants, Stores In Neighborhood From Long time Residents

Long-time Laurelhurst residents, the Wyckoffs, sent this interesting history of Laurelhurst from their many years of living, shopping and eating in the neighborhood:

My husband, Tom, and I, both 75 years old, remember Zopf’s Pharmacy, where the Bike Shop was for many years, from our childhood, and enjoyed reading about the history found during the deconstruction effort in the Laurelhurst Blog.  
I am sure quite a few of our contemporaries remember Carl’s Restaurant which was housed for decades in the old building where the now defunct Chloe’s Bistro opened, several doors down from that restaurant.   We grew up on Carl’s burgers and still drool (like other Laurelhurstian elders) thinking of the fries.

It was a small restaurant with a long counter and about 8 or 10 red vinyl and metal stools that you could twist around on for viewing your friends who might be sitting in the several back booths, also upholstered in red vinyl, which held six in a pinch.   
We could watch Carl who was the owner as well as the Chef (a loose term), flip burger, sink his delicious fries into hot grease and make milkshakes and malts in his three shakers which were mounted on the wall.  There were more than the standard flavors at Carl’s - we remember root beer being a favorite one year when we were in the 4th grade at Laurelhurst Elementary.   
There was a counter-mounted small juke box on the counter nestled in between the bottle of ketchup and each of the several booths had one of those music selectors that we “flipped” like pages of a book to make our choices.  A very large white refrigerator dominated the end of the galley section which Carl opened and shut with grave regularity, pulling out patties of ground beef, squares of American cheese, and chopped iceberg lettuce.   
In addition to burgers, you could order a tuna sandwich and probably some other items as well although hamburgers and cheeseburgers were so dominant we cannot dredge up any other menu memories.   
Carl’s was definitely not a chain!  This was the 1940’s and 50’s after all - there were few chain restaurants and Carl’s pre-dated the Burgermaster.  A Chinese restaurant named Mars operated for years where Varlamos is now - they had rather typical American/Chinese offerings and featured sad looking plants in the window which never really died and never really flourished.  Mars was a favorite of our neighbors in Laurelhurst, as was The Barbecue, no kin to the current Burgermaster which was located in the same spot where The Sand Point Grill flourishes now.  
Carl was a silent and calm man, tall and with the sort of presence which demanded respect.  He never asked us to be too “good” nor did he allow bad behavior.  He was reminiscent of a good Army Sgt. and we all liked him.  He had an air of world weariness about him.  We never remember Carl’s being closed - he was a constant provider! 
Our Mothers shopped for groceries at Pollards and meat cut to order from the counter inside the store owned by Marty’s Meats where Jaks is now.  This was a wonderful old fashioned market and when Marty retired he was given a grand party by all the grateful housewives who had presented grand and succulent roasts and chickens to their families and dinner guests for decades.  The meat was amazing, our mouths water just thinking about it. 
The other grocery store we utilized was Cushings which stood where the Sand Point City People’s is now.  It was a straightforward sort of place and just close enough to Laurelhurst Elementary for chocolate bar stop on the way home from school.  Mothers walked down to shop at Cushings as one car families in Laurelhurst in the late 40’s was not uncommon and gas was expensive. Many Dads took the bus downtown to work and arrived home promptly at 5:30pm, ready for dinner and family time. 
The building housing Jaks has gone through many reiterations.  Before it was Komans, it was the Wedge which sold fabulous cheeses, baked goods, and imported foods and served what we called “gourmet" breakfasts and lunches in the  70’s and 80’s.  They had little tables scattered about the food aisles and featured bentwood and woven rattan ice cream chairs; when they closed they sold me four of them and I still cherish them. 
And the fun of remembering all this is that we still have friends living in the neighborhood who were our friends then too.  We all left to seek our fortunes and then returned, happy to have seen America and the world, but delighted and grateful to return to a city which continues to be vibrant and never happy to just rest on its laurels but to always improve and open its arms to the new.

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