October 20, 2017
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Restaurants of Yesteryear

Nostalgia feeds the memories of the city’s restaurants

Evansville, Indiana, is a city that likes to dine out. We also like to reminisce about our favorite long-closed eateries. Get your taste buds ready to dine down memory lane.

The Brown Derby opened in 1932 with 21 guest cottages and a restaurant and grill. By 1936, the Brown Derby, located on the present site of the I-69 interchange with U.S. Highway 41 South, was a night spot known for dining, dancing, and gambling. In 1960, it became the House of Como. In 1969, gutted by fire, the House of Como moved to its present day location a few blocks away.

Before he was a baseball manager, Don Mattingly, of course, was the Yankee’s first baseman — and a restaurant owner. Mattingly’s 23, which served patrons next to Showplace Cinemas on Morgan Avenue, took his jersey number for its name and offered tavern fare like potato skins, fried combo baskets, and steaks. It was open from August 1987 to June 1996.  (Photo taken August 16, 1987.)

Patrons could dine, listen to the lions roar, and the elephants trumpet at the Tower Lite, which operated for four decades high atop St. Joesph Avenue across from Mesker Park Zoo. Today it is home to Ohio Valley Grain Inspection. (Photo taken in 1984.)

Hills Snappy Service operated on the northwest corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive. The exclusively-Indiana chain opened four diners in Evansville beginning in the late 1930s. (Photograph circa 1941.)

The Tennessean restaurant, which opened at 313 Locust St. in 1949, became one of the most popular eateries in Downtown Evansville with its long counter and glazed tile wall. A second location later opened at 101 N.W. Fifth St., which became the Flying Saucer in later years. The Tennessean’s patrons included businessmen, politicians, shoppers, and students from nearby Central High School.

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