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Mar 27, 2014 06:43 AM

Middletown CT comings & goings

The Pattie Palace has closed. Goats will rejoice. Always looked a little too schkeevy in there for me (and geeze, THAT'S saying something!), poor service, but always heard people rave about the food. To be replaced by, "Burgers on Main." Odd, as Main Street has already dismissed the steamed burger place, and another burger in a basket place whose name I cannot dredge up. Also changing hands is the venerable Gatekeeper Tavern, reopened as the "Corner Pocket."

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  1. Back in the 50's there was a bar and grill called Moke's (Moak's?). They didn't bother checking my ID and, IIRC, the food was rather good. Any chance they're still around?

    26 Replies
    1. re: mucho gordo

      Not a place I recall, where was it? The Katwoman seems to have lots of Middletown scoop, maybe she knows

      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        GEEZ, the 50s only predate my time on the planet by a couple of decades. So, no--no Moke's, Moak's, Moors or Moops. Downtown M'town has changed radically since I was a kiddo in the 70s, nevermind before I even got here!

        1. re: kattyeyes

          Home of the original Bob's surplus?

          1. re: AdamD

            Why, yes--and "the jean machine"--not that you could eat there, of course.

            And, for other memory lane strollers, remember Ethical Pharmacy on Broad Street, near where Giovanni's used to be? I'm playing, that was the 70s/80s. In most recent history, it was Michael's Deli, before that, Sammy's Pizza. New signage is up--"Asian Restaurant" (if memory serves) with a brightly colored parrot on it. Would be fun to have a hole in the wall place like Pho Mai back in town. Fingers crossed.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Never stopped to eat there, just remember mom taking me there to buy jeans and sneakers out of bins!

              1. re: AdamD

                There's a flashback. I had forgotten about the bins and that rather rubbery smell where all the sneakers were in the basement. :) Don't forget the painter's pants (I loved mine) and the fatigues!

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Just for fun--here's second grade me in my Bob's Surplus painter's pants with (NOT kidding) a Jerry's Pizza stain on them. To this day, I shy away from white clothes...

                  I grew up on Jerry's Pizza, but discovered Napoli Pizza in Meriden in my 20s and won't eat calzone anywhere else. And, while we're digging into my hometown's history a bit, Jerry (Napoli Pizza) is Jerry's (Jerry's Pizza) nephew. Howzat for an interesting little food didjaknow? :)

        1. re: mucho gordo

          Well, well, well. So happens Moke's Anchor Bar, formerly on the corner of Main and Liberty must be the place you remember. It's long gone and I only know this because some people in my circle are 82 years old. Also found a reference to the Anchor Bar and Moke himself in a 1969 paper. Article mentions Connecticut law (then) prohibited women from standing in bars. Also learned Moke's daughter is a friend of my family. Small world.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            The Sleigh House in Hamden didn't allow women at the bar then, also, probably to my father's disappointment. Bagelman1 has an astounding recollection of every establishment in several CT counties during that time.

            1. re: Veggo

              In the spring of 1952 my parents and siblings moved to New Haven from NYC. They were used to attending Broadway shows most Saturday nights and dining at fine restaurants.
              The 2nd Saturday night in New Haven my parents went to have pre-theatre dinner at Kaysey's (then on College Street) to be followed by a musical at Shubert.

              Kayseys was quite busy. My mother had helped my father in his store that day with the Easter Rush and they walked around the corner from his store at 986 Chapel (which later became Kaysey's second home) to the restaurant. There was a slight delay in being seated and mom walked over to the bar and placed her handbag down and just leaned, tired from a long day on her feet in the store. The owner came running over to her all agitated...."Mrs. B, ex exclaimed, I know you just moved here from NY, but in Connecticut it's illegal for women to be within three feet of a bar, if someone cathes you, I can lose my liqour license." Mom and dad were quickly ushered to a table.

              and Hamden during the 50s, 60s and early 70s The Colonial House didn't allow females to eat in the main dining room for lunch Monday-Friday

              It was only in the later 70s when ERA was in play and became part of the CT Constitution (unlike the US Constitution) that women got equal treatmenyt in places of public accomodation. Hell in 1970 as a teenager I could force a woman off the tennis courts any weekday before 5PM at our country club. On weekends women coud not tee off until after 3PM. "you've come a long way baby!"

              1. re: bagelman01

                YUP, now we can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a did my mother, and her mother before her. And so on, and so on, and shooby dooby doo.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Katty.....the joy of living in a liberal 'Blue' state........................

                  My mother worked from the age of 16 until retiring with 40 years as a teacher/principal in her 60s
                  Her mother worked from the age of 14 until she was 78
                  My 65 year old sister taught school from age 21 and has been a principal sonce she was 30, she'll retire at age 67.

                  But none of them ever brought home bacon or fried it up in a pan, wrong ethnic group.

                  Proud to live in a state where women are equal under the law, and are treated like queens in the B family homes.

                2. re: bagelman01

                  I never knew that. Was there a similar law against women in package stores? We owned a liquor store in Meriden and my mother had to run it when my father became incapacitated.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    I don't think so. Closed at 8, closed Sunday, no sales on credit.

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      No, in fact women were often the permittee. Until afew years ago CT law only allowed ownership of two liqour stores by one entity (now three) so no chains. It was very common for a married couple to own 2 stores with the husband in one and the wife running the other.
                      State minimum price laws and limited permits/distance between liqour stores ensured owners made a living.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        That 'limited distance' rule; did it apply to 2 stores/1owner or 2 stores/2owners? Do you recall the French/Italian store was just a few doors down from Bill's Liquor? How was that allowed?

                        1. re: mucho gordo

                          the limited distance refers to the minimum 1500 feet from schools, churches, etc.

                          The minimum distance between liqour stores has been increased over the years. In fact, when licensing started agaion after prohibition there was no distance requirement. Those already holding licenses (for a particular address) were/are exempt from the distance requirements when they are implemented or change.

                3. re: kattyeyes

                  Indeed it is. That's the place. Thank you for the research and article. I was hoping that someone a few years younger than 82 would remember it. I'm not quite THAT old yet.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    You're welcome--helps that I grew up here and have a few older hometown connections. You gave me something fun to talk about next time I bump into my friend as well. :D

                  2. re: kattyeyes

                    Liberty and Main, hmmm. Now the most notorious corner in Middlesex County for drugs and hookers

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Tru dat. I'm what they call a "gentri-fier"...bringing up the quality of the neighborhood with my work ethic, taxes, and urge not to rob, rape and murder everybody

                4. Another thing I remember about Middletown back in the 50's was the fear some people had of going there because of the 'insane asylum'. I recall being told never to go there because it was dangerous. M'town had a bad rep back then.