Quick Bites: Buy a bit of history at the Poor Tony’s auction
Posted: 02/04/2013 at 1:15 am
By: Marshall V. King
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The exterior of Poor Tony's restaurant on Franklin Street where a body was found mid morning Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Police responded to the restaurant just east of S.R. 19 after investigating another body found at the vacant American Countryside Farmers Market. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) ¬ ¬ ¬
If you want a piece of history, you can buy it at an auction of the items from Poor Tony’s Restaurant & Lounge on Feb. 18.
“It’s in good shape. We got it all ready to sell,” said Bernie Payne, the auctioneer. “Poor Tony’s. It’s right there by the cremation center.”
The restaurant at 2110 W. Franklin St., Elkhart, opened in the late 1950s. Tony Minelli opened Minelli’s Restaurant on Harrison Street in 1955, according to Elkhart Historian Paul Thomas. (Thomas remembers in part because it was the same year he opened his shoe store on North Main Street.)
A few years later, probably 1958 or 1959, he opened Poor Tony’s and a year later sold it to Patsy Minelli, who operated it as a steak house for 21 years, according to information from The Elkhart Truth in 1980.
The restaurant was most popular in the 1960s and 1970s when it featured barbecued spare ribs, frog legs and lobster tail, according to Thomas and information from a Bob Flury column in the Truth in 1967.
Service clubs used the back room for meetings, Thomas said.
In 1980, A.J. and Penny Williams purchased the restaurant. In the early 1990s, it became Presentations before returning to be Poor Tony’s, but never a really successful version.
Payne said all the equipment, including kitchen equipment, tables and pictures of past restaurants in Elkhart, will be sold starting at 10 a.m. Feb. 18.
The building will be torn down later this spring, he said.
• IHOP restaurants in Indiana will raise money for Riley Hospital for Children on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The restaurant calls it National Pancake Day and offers a free short stack to every customer while asking them to consider a donation to Riley or the Children’s Miracle Network. Last year, Indiana IHOPs raised nearly $25,000 for Riley and nationwide the total was $2.3 million while giving away 4 million pancakes. The location at 2905 Ferndale Road, Elkhart, and the one in Mishawaka will participate this year.
• There was some talk of Goshen Restaurant Week starting early this month, but it won’t happen until at least later this year, according to Katrina Maust of Goshen First Fridays. South Bend’s winter restaurant week ended Saturday.
• An episode of “Dinner and a Book” featuring me and Summer Lewis of Iechyd Da Brewing Co. aired Saturday on WNIT. The show hosted by Gail Martin mixes cooking with talk of literature. The show was originally scheduled for Jan. 26, but changed. The episode will be on again at 8:30 p.m. tonight on channel 34.2.
• Chubby Trout, 2730 Cassopolis St., is having a Sushi 4 You party and class at noon Feb. 23. Sushi chefs Allyse Chinook and Torrian Hawkins will teach the class members how to make sushi rice, select fish and roll and cut the sushi, according to owner Cam Snyder. The class includes take-home sushi and sauce recipes. The cost is $45 per person and you can reserve a spot by calling 574-264-5700.
• The Dining A La King wine tour to Sonoma, Calif., starts this week. After arriving on the West Coast on Thursday, a group of 32 of us will tour wineries and a brewery over the weekend. Menno Travel Service has been great helping with the arrangements and Jay Fields, a South Bend wine representative, made a lot of great connections to make the trip possible. Even if you can’t go, you can follow along on eTruth.com. I’ll be posting to the my blog at blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking as well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. Some tales of our travels will also appear in The Elkhart Truth. I hope I can direct some warmth and sunshine your way, as well as tales of good food.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook. His blog is at www.blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking/.