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Help ID this roadside Akron restaurant!

Hey all, I'm hoping the Chowhound experts on here who know the Akron, Ohio area can help solve a mystery that's been bugging me for years!

About 4 years ago I was in Kent with a friend and we had to be somewhere in downtown Akron later that night. We had about an hour to kill so we took a drive, early in the evening, out along the main roads that headed (approximately) toward Akron. At first this was all leisurely but as our deadline loomed we headed closer to Akron and at one point we were simply amazed by what appeared to be an old 1950s or 60s roadside food joint. The place looked pristine and super Googie! I remember that the predominant color was sky blue, and inside the glass front you could see sculpted benches. The architecture was fantastic and if we hadn't been in a hurry we would have stopped to take pictures.

Unfortunately, I've never been able to find this place again. Last summer, my friend and I even went back to Kent and tried to retrace our path to try and find it!

All I remember was that it was on the right side of the road, heading toward Akron, and it was on what seemed to be a major road, like Market St or Tallmadge Ave, Cleveland-Akron Rd or Manchester Rd. (I could be completely wrong about the names, I'm not from there.)

This was 4 years ago I'm pretty sure, the summer of 2005. I find it hard to believe that such a great-looking place would have been demolished in the past few years without some noise, but I've heard nothing about it. It looked "fast-foodish," but I don't know if they had burgers, hot dogs, ice cream or whatever.

Can anyone help? Anyone ever see this place or know the name of it? Even if it's gone, I'd love to be able to see a photo of it ... just to prove to my friends that this "mystery roadside restaurant" did indeed exist!

thanks, jenn

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  1. I hope you don't mind but I forwarded your post to Jane Snow, former food editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. She might know something.

    16 Replies
    1. re: CurryLover

      Thank you so much! I've never seen a more Southern California "Googie" place in Ohio, so I hope it still exists -- but I just want to solve the mystery of what/where it was!

      1. re: jennseats

        what does Googie mean?

        I have wracked my brain but have no idea what this place could be.

        1. re: rockandroller1

          R'n'roller,

          Googie is a style of American architecture that peaked in the late 1950s / early 60s. The epicenter of "Googie" is Los Angeles, where lots of coffee shops, diners, and so on had the look: http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/te...

          Googie was also popular in some parts of Florida, Chicago and elsewhere. Not much in Ohio, but this one place definitely had the look and feel...

          1. re: jennseats

            ah, all you had to do was say like Coco's and I'd have gotten it, I used to live in LA. Thx for giving me my new word for the day!

            I wonder too what this place was. It doesn't sound like a Swenson's, which is a popular drive-in here, or an A&W Root Beer drive-in (fewer locations), those both have different color schemes than what you've described.

            Was it alone on the road, amongst houses/residences or around other businesses?

              1. re: rockandroller1

                It is the Skyway drive-in in Fairlawn? I cant think of anything on Cleve-Mass or Tallmadge that fits that description.

                It is possibly on RT91 through Hudson and Stow? I cant think of anything on Howe or North Main in Cuyahoga falls that sounds like what she is describing.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Their location doesn't sound like anywhere they might have been near, though geography certainly isn't my strong suit. It's hard to say since there are no pictures of the place on their website.

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    Hey guys... thanks so much for all the replies. This mystery is killing me!

                    It's not a Skyway or a Swenson's, although it's definitely that TYPE of place. And when I've mentioned it to people from Akron before, those are the two things they say. I've been to both, and yes it's about the same size as one of them more or less but I think it was one of a kind. It wasn't one of the A&W places either.

                    I'm pretty sure the dominant color was sky blue, but the place really stood out.

                    That night we were driving, we did take a few of the big main roads out of Kent -- we had a few hours to kill and we were cruising around, so there's a chance this place could be more toward another direction (43, 81, 224?), but I'm pretty sure we saw it at the end when we were heading into Akron. I just took a look at a map and if I had to guess I'd say it was on Northeast Ave/Eastland Ave -- that road that goes diagonal from Kent thru Tallmadge and into Market St in Akron...

                    1. re: jennseats

                      Boy. I just cannot fathom what that could have been. We do have Bob's Big Boy's here and there but I think you'd remember if it was one of those. I hope someone comes on who is able to figure this out, I'm curious now as well.

                      1. re: rockandroller1

                        R'nroller -- definitely not a Big Boy's! (I live in Cle so I know of them too.)

                        I talked to the friend I was with last night and she said it was definitely turquoise or light blue colored, really cool looking, and it was a small fast-food type place (she thought burgers), like a Swenson's or Skyway. She also said, "I'm positive it was on a main road. We were driving a long time on one road and we saw it on the right."

                        I hope someone who knows Akron from the 90s / early 2000s sees this and helps us figure this out!

                        jenn

                        1. re: jennseats

                          I'm going to ask some people on another thread, see if any of them know.

                          1. re: jennseats

                            I grew up SW of Akron and went to Akron U in the late 80s, but if it isn't Skyway, then I'm stumped.

                            1. re: Kelli2006

                              My other peeps think it's Skyway also.

                    2. re: Kelli2006

                      I'm not sure if 91 is the right direction. If anything I would say maybe it was closer to Suffied/Randolph/Rootstown, but as I remember it, it was definitely somewhere between Kent & Akron...

                    3. re: rockandroller1

                      That's a cool site, but it's not on there. It really wasn't a diner, more like these LA pics: http://www.laokay.com/ArmetDavisNewlo...

                      I don't remember strip malls or anything, I do remember a lot of trees, and this place seemed to come out of nowhere. And nobody seems to remember it even existing!

              2. re: CurryLover

                The new swenson's? It's 50's style, with a 2-storey glass window in front.
                Maybe Summnit Racing?
                Jane Snow

                This was Jane Snow's response to my asking her your question - I don't know if it helps or leads you in the right direction.

              3. When I lived in Cuyahoga Falls two years ago, there was a restaurant on State Rd. called Chuck and Diane's. It had a blue and yellow sign that looked to be in the style of the links you mention. I tried to find a picture of the sign, but unfortunately the restaurant has changed names and the sign has been torn down and replaced. Since it isn't really in the middle of nowhere, and there aren't a lot of trees around it is not necessarily the place you are looking for, but I thought I would throw it out there as a possibility.

                <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&amp;s..."> Google Maps </a> shows what it looks like now. (It looks like lots of changes have been made because I seem to remember that the whole building was blue and yellow.

                1. jennseats, I posted this on another board and someone thinks it was this place, which is in Ravenna:
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/10707024...

                  Could this be it?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    R'n'Roller, we saw that place on the drive! I think we saw that when we started out, going the "other" way down one of the main drags in Kent (43?). Looked cool, we went in, a lot of it was updated but they still used 70s era cocktail menu placemats in the lounge area!

                    But no, sadly, that's definitely NOT it. This place, this mythical place that no one else seems to remember or know, was SUPER COOL. Like classic Southern California cool. It was the most Googiest thing I've ever seen outside of Cali, and here it was somewhere in Akronland. It was like a Skyway or Swenson's in size, but wasn't a drive-in -- it was like a little fast food place where you walk in to order, and they had a few booths inside where you could eat. But it was pretty small.

                    Well I talked to my friend about this and we decided to get together one night this summer and head out to Kent and try to retrace our steps again, check out Tallmadge like johnE O advised, and either find the darn place or the location where it existed (so we can at least plug in some records searches to find the name).

                  2. I lived in the Stow-Kent area for 5 years but I can't recall any restaurant matching the description. Based on your direction of travel I would guess that you were probably going through Tallmadge.

                    1. Hi there,

                      Curious to know, was it a drive-in restaurant or a diner? I know there is Wink's Drive-in & Green Leaf Drive In. Do you remember if it was in a city area or in a more rural area?

                      1. I asked an art/architecture expert I work with and she answers (my additions in parentheses):

                        "There used to be a very Googie drive-in in Tallmadge, which, unfortunately has been given a makeover and is not Googie any more. But it's not on the right side of the road. It's on the Akron side of Tallmadge road, just after you come off the circle, on the left, just after you pass the new (huge!) drugstore on the corner." (I don't know the Tallmadge retail landscape very well -- anyone have a clue? There used to be a Wally Waffle on the circle, which would fit the "diner" description.)

                        She continues: "There's a restaurant in Steels Corners, across from the Jeep dealership, that sort of reminds me of 50s-style restaurants — aqua and everything (I think she's talking about Athena's. Not sure how long they've been in business). The frozen custard place across from the old Akron Municipal Airport is sort of Googie (That'd be Strickland's). We used to have a Big Boy in Fairlawn that was very Googie, but the church just down the block and directly opposite the middle entrance to Fairlawn plaza is very Googie. The new Swenson's on Hawkins tries to be Googie. The best places to find Googie architecture are roads that were heavily traveled back in the 1950s, thus old Route 8 is a good candidate, and probably S. Main would be as well. "

                        This question has managed to stump a lot of longtime residents.. I'm very curious!

                        1. Aha! I just happened to drive by the Lamp Post diner in the Ellet area. It's on East Market just off I-76, and would have been on the right as you're driving into town, if you had come south on 91 or 43 and then turned west. The front is glass and inside you can see molded turquoise stools at the counter.

                          There's one picture here:
                          http://interestingakron.wordpress.com...

                          and you can see it on Google Street View too. 2081 E. Market, Akron.