Saturday, April 11, 2009
Nancy's Announces Closing
Losing old friends is never easy. Yet when I was scanning the Dispatch this morning (Saturday) I learned one of my favorite places to eat has announced that closing was on the menu.
Nancy's is a one of the great institutions in Columbus. And it soon will be a lost but remembered institution. Located along North High Street in Clintonville, it was best described as a small stool type establishment. And yes, in reality it was at it's heart a classic greasy spoon or hole in the wall. But like most places like Nancy's the place had its own unique character that even 5 star places cannot duplicate. That character was probably best described as heart.
I first became aware of the place in the late 80's or early 90's. At the time, every morning on WTVN radio, morning host Bob Conners would do a shout out to people and places. Nancy's was one of his shout outs. And because of that daily shout out, I had to give it a try. (Sadly, Bob no longer does that anymore. It was a neat feature on his show!)
Famous for their breakfasts, my usual stop was for lunch. Everyday there was a daily feature or two. And that's it. Take it or leave it. A simple menu of couple of items. Yet the price was right, the plate was full and the food was good. Here's a photo of my favorite. Chicken and Noodles. And always $5.00 or less to eat.
One day I took a friend from work for lunch. We sat at the counter and was finally waited on. The friend asked what was on the menu for the day. The reply was meatloaf. The friend asked if there was anything else. The reply was "yes, meatloaf". Either you liked meatloaf that day or you went somewhere else. But at Nancy's it didn't matter. The place was normally packed with people along the wall waiting for a stool to open.
Nancy's was a community place. Young and old. Rich and poor. All were welcomed. All sat together. All quickly became frineds as the meal was consumed.
It was not unusual to be told to check yourself out if the staff was busy. Literally you would go to the cash register, pay your tab and make your own change. No one would flinch seeing someone doing that. That simply doesn't happen anywhere else. Honestly, the first time I went there and saw that happen, I simply couldn't believe that business could be done that way. The cash register was full and yet people were honestly paying their bills and making their own change.
I went for lunch one day on a particularly bad winter day a few years ago. Owner Cindy King insisted that since I was such a loyal customer she couldn't charge me for lunch that day because I had braved the elements to eat with her. I was given a hug and told thanks for my patronage. While I ate there maybe once or twice a month at the time, there were certainly daily customers who deserved the royal treatment I got that day.
Ms. King is said to be closing the place due to ill health, mounting health bills and an economy that has began to catch up with her and effectively doing business.
Yet, thankfully as of this writing, there are about 2 months of time left to get a final meal or two.
The Dispatch article is here
Edited to add: Diana and I went tonight to enjoy Chicken and Noodles. Unfortunately, a flat tire tried to get in our way. We arrived just in time to get the last two meals they had......but unfortunately, not chicken and noooles but a delicious pot roast. It was truly a treat.
Now isn't it sad when a great pot roast just doesn't hit the spot when your heart is set on Nancy's chicken and noodles. Thursday is once again Chicken and Noodles day and we'll be there!