Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Danger of Quality - Bill Knapp's is Delightfully Pestiferous!

Image result for bill knapp restaurant
 Image result for bill knapp
One of the things that our customers grew to expect from our restaurants was quality food. They could count on the fact that the Bill Knapp's name stood for good, traditional, quality food. Retail shoppers today have those same expectations. If it has our name on it, they expect it to be good! - Bill Knapp

Family owned businesses are the only places I choose to champion.  I grew up on 79th Street, which according to Professor Eileen McMahon had businesses for every need from obstetrician to mortuary.
We went to Weiss's Five and Dime, Frank's Full Service Department Store, bought Whoopee Cushions and fake Dog Poop at Reilly's Trick Shop, got regular boys haircuts at Max Esposito's Barbershop, bread, cakes and cookies at Highland Bakery, bought new gravel agitators at Shapiro's Shoes, fidgeted at DuBois' Studios for 1st Communion and Graduation pictures and browsed Raymar's Terminal Merchandise for low-end values and Civil War era chewing gum at a penny a dozen. My Mom would take me to Lithuanian Doctor Anthony for a tetanus shots after every unsanctioned visit to Raymar's .Image result for 79th & ashland 1960

People bought good food at neighborhood groceries and National Tea Company, or the Hi-Lo until Jewel ran them out of business and suits, sport coats and dresses that lasted.  Quality meant it tasted, looked, felt and proved that working people purchased good things.

Now, we have CVS, WalGreens,WalMarts, Targets, TJ Max, Marshall's, Doc in the Box Med Depot, TGIF and WTF Friday's Eat Same troughs.

Quality is something that stirs memories.

No south sider of my three score and change years can ever forget the glories of Dressel's Cream Cakes at 6630 S. Ashland Ave. - they were what special occasions are all about.

In summers we would go to the Irish Riviera's of Wisconsin, Michigan, or Indiana.  The Hickey's tended to pilgrimage on Michigan's Red Arrow Highway and stay at Cassio's Cottages owned my Mr. Cassio from St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish on 69th & Hermitage.

On the way up, we would stop at Bill Knapp's restaurant outside of St. Joe where they had exquisite donuts called Dunkers - two inch cakes shaped like a Pierogi for dunking in milk, coffee, or tea. They were of the fry-cake variety and extra crispy on the outside. But the Cadillac breakfast supplement was the glazed dunkers and the Rolls Royce was the Enrobed Donut & Dunker - a great donut enrobed in thick real chocolate.

County Fair Foods, owned and operated for more than 50 years by the Baffes Family, sells Bill Knapp Dunkers.

I have no kids at home . . .at the moment . . .and I dare not buy a box of eight - because I'll ate all eight.

Quality is out there. It is not under Arches, or in a big box warehouse.


Mick Kelly said...

Pat, How could you leave on the two anchors of 79th & Wood st, Hites and Kiley & Kalina? The list goes on. There was the pizza place on Ashland near 80th, I think it was Caruso's that was so famous for D &D and the flower shop, Sheffield's where all prom, homecoming and special event flowers where purchased! The list goes on!

Jim Furlong said...

Don't forget Englewood Knitting Mills for your Leo (or Little Flower) letter sweater or letter jacket.

Tom Best said...

From the bottom of my heart, Patrick, thank you for this most wonderful nostalgic post! It was the same for us growing up in Brainerd. On Loomis between 89th and 90th Streets we had a High-Low Foods, a Ben Franklin, Sopocy's Pharmacy, Tony's Barber Shop (were all barbers Italian back then?), Sylvia's Beauty Shop, Geneo's Pizza (the BEST pizza ever!), a record shop, two shoe repair shops and the infamous Mickey's. Someday I'll tell his story. Yeah, it was wonderful. And you felt like you knew all the merchants. You weren't just a customer or patron.

Thank God for County Fair and Janson's Drive-In still being in business. (I remember when County Fair had another store in Homewood.) I've watched Tom and his sisters Teri and Chrissy grow up over the years. And old man Baffes is a real character, a one-of-a-kind owner.

At any rate, thanks for bringing back some great memories for Greshamites and Brainerdites alike. And for those of us old enough, we not only remember Dressel's cakes, but we can still taste them in our memories.

Hey, we've got good memories. Not everybody can say that. We may not be materially wealthy, but we've got riches you can't put a price on.

It really has been a wonderful life.

Especially when you're just a neighborhood kid.