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UNH Alums, et al---Karl's, Catnip Pub, Tin Palace--Durham NH?

  • g

I know Murphy's Tin Palace is still there. Anybody remember Karls Truck in the Quad. Oh how I still long for his cheeseburger subs and snotty fries! Catnip is long gone but was the coolest bar a long, long time ago. What's good around there anymore--I'll be in the area in a couple of months. Portsmouth too!

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  1. I remember Karls! $2 for a cheeseburg sub and the only time he wasn't there was when he went deer hunting! Can't remember Catnip Pub though. How about that small cookie shop inside the downtown laundromat?

    2 Replies
    1. re: RandyL

      If I recall correctly they sold the Catnip my senior yr. It may have been called the Down Under before that. I'm not familiar w/ the laundramat cookie place --thank God Karl's was bad enough for my diet! EMC yes, the pizza w/ the cheese on top. My friend and I used to split the small broccoli, cheap and heavenly for us poor students. Anybody remember Bread N Butter store?

      1. re: gbean

        The Catnip was originally the Little Horn. They had broiled hamburgers in the mid to late 1960s. The restaurant above the Down Under was the College Corner, owned and operated by the Gegas family. It was basically a liquor law violation waiting to happen every night.

        The building that housed the Down Under and College Corner was owned by the same landlord who built the Tin Palace, and when the lease expired, they opened a discoteque in what had been the Franklin Movie Theater. It didn't last very long, as disco was already on its way out.

    2. And how about the ol' MUB Pub??

      1 Reply
      1. re: RandyL

        I didn't frequent the MUB Pub except for lunch (after I had moved off campus jr. yr). At night I did go see a Grateful Dead copy band once.

      2. Oh boy!! Karls also had the best chicken salad subs.. and those fries! YUM. Also Tin Palace had great pizza withthe cheese on top of the "toppings" which I still do today when I make pizza.

        Can't help with recommendations. I was there this past winter on the way to a ski weekend and did not find any of the old haunts or even a good college town meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: emc

          I used to furnish and service the pinball machines for the arcade underneath the Tin Palace, from 1974 through 1981. Like all of downtown Durham, we eventually got done in by the Caravan. Those of you who did not experience downtown Durham before the caravan will never believe what a bustling downtown it was.

        2. Mrs. Dumkeg is still a Wildcat. She wants to know what years. She remembers Fritz's Yruck in the Quad. She used to ride around in his Porche. Also the Down Under Pub on Main St. She should have graduated in '73, but extra curricular activities and too much Sunshine lengthened it to '74. The famous tourist trap lobster place , just before the bridge to Portsmiouth, of which we can not remember the name, is still there. So is the hot dog wagon in Portsmouth.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Passadumkeg

            I think it was called Newick's. I was there in the mid 80's......Lambda Chi Alpha.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Newicks had the best lobster , fried clams and onion rings.
                Did anyone ever hit a happy hour at the New England Center?

                1. re: unh84

                  I went to NEC hh w/ some friends once but there once but not many people there.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Newick's is still there. Back in the early 70s we used to enjoy a trip to Rosa in Portsmouth (also still there). Some of the other places we frequented are long gone: Yoken's in Portsmouth, the Seagull Diner in Kittery, the Dragon Seed in Kittery. We also used to go to a little place in Dover called the Spartan, but I have no idea if that still exists.
              There's a Facebook group dedicated to Karl's. Nothing like one of Karl's cheeseburgers made with a thick slab of Velveeta.

              1. re: Lee Gordon

                I lived in Dover Jr and Sr year but I don't recall the Spartan. Where was it? There's also some stuff on Karl's on UNH alum site. I think he set up a booth at one of the homecoming games.

                1. re: gbean

                  The Spartan was located in "Lower Square" on Central avenue, across from the old Strafford Bank. It had been Sweetland's from about 1950 to the mid 1960s, and then became the Spartan when they remodeled it and put in a liquor lounge that featured live entertainment. It eventually became Carabella's in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

                2. re: Lee Gordon

                  What is the name of the Facebook group dedicated to Karl's!???

                3. re: Passadumkeg

                  I graduated in '86. Fritz is Karl's brother--he must've run the truck before him? As for Newick's --it's still there. It was a stand when my Dad went to UNH as well. My roomies and I went to quite a few of those Lamba parties as Freshman and Sophs!

                  1. re: gbean

                    I used to eat at Fritz's in the mid to late 1960s.

                4. Well, that grabbed my attention. Class of '65 here. Never heard of a single one of the places any of you are talking about, although there was a "grinder" shop in town. And a coffee shop/diner that served real food. No idea what the names were. Any other Wildcat altacockers out there?

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: JoanN

                    Class of 68. Newicks was a much smaller seafood shack, same locarion. How about the Cat in Dover. $.25 beer and a meatball sandwich smothered in tomato sauce. The $,99 cheesburger special at the truck stop at the Lee traffic circle. The hot dog truck in Portsmouth was Gilley's and is now a national historic site.

                    1. re: chuck s

                      Oh, yes. Was that the Cat with the .99 beers? Now THAT I remember. And if I recall correctly, it was illegal (state law--at least at that time) to carry your own beer from one table to another. You had to call over a server to carry it for you. Great sport watching all the servers carrying beers from one table to another all night long with patrons following behind with their meatball sandwiches.

                      Was Newicks called Newicks then? Remember the shack, but not the name. Also remember that we could buy live lobsters for less money than chopped beef--at least my first two years. Prices went up considerably after that. We poor students ate lobster all the time. It was one of the cheapest foods we could buy.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        I remember my father talking about the beer carrying thing at a bar in Dover which turned out to be this little dive bar that was still open and next to my apt on 3rd St.? Was it a small place?

                        1. re: gbean

                          My (somewhat fuzzy) recollection is of a large, rectangular bar in the center of the room with wooden booths that could seat six (comfortably) along the side walls. The bar itself was somewhat reminiscent of the "Cheers" bar, with the bartenders in the center and stools all around the perimeter. Not that small, as I remember it.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            That's great about the moving of the mugs (or glasses)....LOL...my father described a similar story but he had graduated aroung '55 I think --may have been a different place.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              You're making that sound like the remodeled Pizza Den Keg Room of the late 1970s, which eventually became Mike Libby's, but that was after my time. I nearly bought the leased premises back in 1978, but the lessee went bankrupt before we could complete the deal, so it reverted to the property owner/lessor, Nick Karabelas (also owner of Nick's Bricks and Scorpio's Provisions)).

                              1. re: PinballMan

                                The place I'm remembering, perhaps entirely inaccurately, would have been a hangout in '64 or '65. I was long gone by the late '70s.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  There are a couple of successive posts above this one that may have been talking about different places. On Third Street in Dover, just before Chestnut Street, there was the Kimball Hotel or Hotel Kimball, which had a lounge attached. That side of the street had Deras's Restaurant (not sure of the spelling) on the Central Ave corner ( closed and became Miss Luneau's dress shop in the mid 1960s), and then Dover Shoe Hospital, and then The Strand movie theater, and above Ross Furniture there was a ten lane candlepin bowling alley owned and operated by the Courteau family that eventually took over the Dover Bowl in the mid 1960s.

                          2. re: JoanN

                            The first place to have booze when Durham went wet back around 1966 or 1967 (before my time, so I'm fuzzy on the date) was the restaurant where the Wildcat eventually was, but I think it had a different name. The owner's name was Ron something (Gagne, maybe), and he eventually became manager of Ballard's Hungry Horse, which was converted to the Tin Palace in 1974.

                            The state liquor regulation prohibiting "table hopping" ended around 1970.

                            1. re: PinballMan

                              I'd completely forgotten that Durham was dry. Guess that's why we had to drive to Dover to drink. Guess someone finally figured out that that really wasn't a smart thing to make us do.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Remember the narrow bridge on the Dover/Madbury Road? It was amazing that no one got killed driving over it, what with it being the primary route for drunk college students to return to campus, for decades. As I recall, the first fatal accident there occurred well after Durham had gone wet. A couple of decades ago, they belatedly widened the roadway and straightend out that bridge.

                          3. re: chuck s

                            Even as late as '72 the Down Under and the Wildcat sold draught beers for a quarter -- 30 cents if you wanted a frosted mug.
                            That joint at the Lee traffic circle (the name escapes me) had an item on the menu called a "gizmo." It was two thin hambuger patties mashed together with some chopped raw onion between them and then grilled. Their other notable specialty was coffee jello.

                              1. re: chuck s

                                Harley's it was! Home of the gizmo and coffee jello.

                          4. re: JoanN

                            If you're Class of '65, then you had to drink out of town, because Durham was still "dry" back then. Remember the Lacantina on Locust Street in Dover, just two buildings down from the police station? That was Dover's most popular UNH satellite drinking establishment until Durham went wet, forcing it to briefly become Anthony's Steak House before going bankrupt probably in 1971 or 1972.

                            That location became the Old Farm Pub in August of 1972. I owned and operated the foosball table and the other coin operaated games there. The Old Farm Pub became the Old Farm Social Club a year or so later so that it could serve hard liquor, and moved upstairs. They were the first bar in the area, and one of the first in the country, to have a 7 foot Advent model 1000 projection TV. It was so new it had a low, 3 digit serial number on it.

                          5. Class of '93 here. Man I used to love Karl's. He must have been on amphetamines or something, with those lines in the front and out the back door, he was just powering through, all herky-jerky like. Nothing like a big guy with baby sh** and load and a big ol' snotty after many hours of partying.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jackbauer

                              Yah, I agree, something besides coffee had to be aiding him! What was the big guy w/ baby sh--? I lived in the quad and the smell was torture...luckily Karl accepted checks.

                              1. re: gbean

                                Large steak and cheese with mustard and mayo. I lived in Hubbard, so it wasn't a terrible stumble home.

                            2. Actually, there was a fire at the Tin Palace a while back. It was sold and has reopened as Ballards.I live in Durham... NEC is slated to close next June due to budget constraints. That and Newicks are all that remains of what everyone mentioned... there are a couple good pizza and burger joints now, and Pauly's Pockets (mediterranean takeout, cheap and pretty damn good), The Bagelry, and a Chinese buffet.

                              1. I'm always up in Portsmouth, Dover and really love Portsmouth Brewery.
                                Their spicey Mussels are great and so is the Salmon Sandwich, great beer as well..

                                1. So, here’s an update on the Durham scene. Karl’s brother, Franz, owns Franz's Food which is located in a little box in the launderette (that was probably the cookie place). The place has egg sandwhixhes, burgers and whatnot. He’s been rated on the Phantom Gourmet “Hidden Jewel,” and, for what it’s worth, he still drives the Porche. Across the street is Paulie’s Pockets, which serves ok Middle Eastern food. After the Tin Palace fire, the aged landlord decided he knew best how to run a restaurant, so he gave his niece title of manager and they’re together running the place into the ground. There’s also the Bagelry, Wings Your Way, Young’s Family Restaurant (been there for years), a Chinese buffet (that I’ve heard is not worth the time) and a load of Pizza places. Acorns in the NEC used to be good, but (as noted above) is dying and the food/service is is subpar.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bewley

                                    That's too bad about the TP. Portsmouth Brewery sounds promising!

                                    1. re: bewley

                                      Gee, that "aged landlord" was just 22 years old when my father went to work for him at Town and Campus back in 1962. I still picture him with that astronaut haircut of his and spring to his step.

                                    2. What about young's donut shop? Great breakfast too!

                                      1. Young's is now Young's Family Restaurant and is still there. They removed the dine-at counter and have made the place look more "upscale," but the menu's pretty much the same.

                                        1. I was one of the owners of the Catnip back in the 80's I'd be glad to hear from any of my old customers....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: RREED4949

                                            I remember a customer of ours lost a few Hop Skips in front of the building. The next morning the pavment had melted slightly. Good stuff in those drinks.

                                          2. Oh boy - the holy trinity of mid-80's UNH. Karl's, the Catnip and the TP! You know what made The Catnip cool? 16-oz Hop-Skips and the fact that, not only did they have "Classical Gas" on the jukebox... it was also the MOST PLAYED song on the jukebox. Also great was Poco Diablo's in Portsmouth and Pop's Pub and Bowling Alley in Newmarket. Boy that brings back memories.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: KazamaSmokers

                                              I seem to remember "My Shirona" being played alot also.

                                              1. re: KazamaSmokers

                                                The HOP SKIP AND GO NAKED made at the Catnip was made with equal parts of vodka, gin, rum, tequila then some lemon mix and dash of grenadine. There were two schools of thought when it came to the beer part. One school preferred the beer added before it was shaken and the other group wanted it added after it was shaken. After losing a few customers off the back of the barstools, we took the tequila out of the mix. I DONT THINK IT MADE ANY DIFFERENCE.