In last week’s Ask Joan, reader Chris Johnson asked about a former restaurant in what’s now the Queensgate Shopping Center.
Can I just tell you all – WOW. I don’t remember the last time I heard from so many people about a question?
As it turns out, that location was the Squire’s Pub for many years, then Nicholas’s Pub, and possibly some other things even after that.
Within about a day of that column being published, I had something like 30 emails, 3 visits to my office and a couple of phone calls, all with readers wanting to let me know what they remembered about those establishments. I’m sharing a selection of them today; I received many, many more, and I do want to say thanks to everyone who replied!
Betsy and Terry Allison of York Township wrote to me and said “Chris asked the name of the restaurant in the Queensgate Shopping Center that served excellent veal dishes. I just spoke with the former owner who gave me a short history of the restaurant. It was originally opened by Bud Boyer under the name of Squire’s Pub. Several years later, it was bought by Tom and Sandy Nicholas and renamed Nicholas’s Pub. That is the name I remember, as it was my parents’ favorite place to dine when they visited us. The veal dishes were the best we have ever eaten. The restaurant closed after the Weis expansion and Sandy opened The Corner Stables restaurant in the (Olde) Tollgate Shopping Center in York Township, which is now known for its ribs. I hope this is what Chris was looking for. Thanks so much for an entertaining column.”
A fun note came from Alicia Helfrich, who said it was her first time responding to an Ask Joan column! “There have been many times I have answered or commented about readers write-ins verbally to my husband from my seat in our den,” she wrote! She said, “To answer the question of the restaurant Chris is looking for: it was called The Squire’s Pub. It was owned by a gentleman named Tom. I can’t remember his last name. Also, Elby’s Big Boy was located where Frank Theaters is currently located. Gino’s, which I am well associated with, was located where Wonderful Garden Chinese restaurant is currently located.” Alicia also noted there was a Dress Barn store in the strip mall where Frank Theaters is now, along with a state liquor store.
On a side note, Alicia had a question too; she writes, “Does anyone remember the original Seven Cousins or the original Grapevine (it may have been called) located between the old Hills dept. store, and the current Weis markets store on Market Street? It was tucked away in a small location. You had the Lincoln Woods, Gino’s, Hills, and this Seven Cousins or Grapevine restaurant, with The Office restaurant located where the Red Lobster now sits. (There was a Grapevine on Belmont, this is not the location I am speaking about.)” And she concluded, “I came to answer Chris’s question, but got carried away with memories.”
That’s the best way to spend your day, in my opinion, Alicia!
I also heard from Wayne Lutz, Sharon Groff, Holly Griffin, Dawn M., Mary Brandt, Mary Ellen Hoyt and Patti Page; from Bill Bankoske, who described Squire’s as “a very nice place;” Maria Musti, who wrote, “When I worked nearby we went there for special lunches. They made an excellent crab omelette!”; and Brenda Killion, who said, “They had wonderful veal dishes and an awesome ‘Seafood Platter’ that was huge!!! Great food, spirits and many wonderful memories from there.”
Bob Hohman said it was immediately adjacent to what was then a Pantry Pride supermarket. “The restaurant’s decor was Mediterranean,” Bob wrote. “A squire’s shield outside welcomed customers. Immediately inside the entrance was a bar running parallel to the length of the establishment. Then came the kitchen. In back was a full-service dining room offering a large variety of main dishes.”
Well, that sounds beautiful, though not quite like another reader, Jon from Glen Rock, remembered. He described: “The name you’re looking for is Squire’s Pub! The exterior was done in a Tudor style with yellow pebbled glass and two black lamps hanging on either side of the entrance. Why I remember this I have no idea except as a child my parents would take my brother Bobby and I there, not to the restaurant but to Race O Rama where we would purchase our Matchbox or Hot Wheel cars. Thanks for evoking memories!”
I also heard from Sue Farrell of Mount Wolf, who said the Squire’s Pub was “a nice place to eat and socialize.” She writes, “My high school boyfriend, his brother and sister all worked there as buskids. The waitresses I recall most were named Mary and Sally. I was allowed to visit and hang out at the busboy station on quiet nights. The education I received from those toughened waitresses was indeed valuable! I believe the owner’s name was Jimmy. It was a great place for us to go on homecoming since we knew everyone. … Thanks for joggling the the happy memory bank.”
From Jill Eckenrode Huska, I heard more about owner “Jimmy” or “Jimmie” as we also heard him referred to. Jill wrote, “The restaurant in question at Queensgate shopping center was indeed Squire’s Pub. Owned by my deceased father-in-law James L. Eckenrode Sr. His specialties were anything veal. Veal Piccata, Veal Marsala, Veal Oscar… you name it, he made it, and he made it well. Many of his veal dishes were named after local dignitaries. His onion loaf was a favorite of mine. I remember a time when I wanted chickpeas in my salad, he didn’t have them in the kitchen so he sent someone to Weis for them… just for me They were wonderful times. We were all so sad to see it go… but excited when he asked me to come to the walk-in freezer and take anything I wanted home. Restaurant size cheesecakes were definitely in my take home bag. He then helped start Corner Stables in Spry/Dallastown area with the wonderful baby back ribs. They were wonderful years. He passed away in the late 1980s.”
Ann Kordenbrock also remembered a man she called Jimmie, who specialized in veal dishes. She wrote, “Our son was a busboy and when he was not busy he would watch Jimmie cook and he became quite a gourmet cook himself and made spending money at college catering dinners for friends who wanted a ‘special’ dinner for a date.”
And from readers Steve and Mary Bancroft, I heard about this and other local eateries. They wrote, “The restaurant was Squire’s Pub, one of our favorites, in the same area were several other faves. The Tyler Inn (SW corner of Tyler Run Road and South Queen), Dew Drop Inn ( just down Dew Drop Rd from S. Queen), Bill Skouras’ Trail Lounge (S. George St. at Tyler Run), Bob Yost’s The Office (in the front part of the old York County Shopping Center about where the video store used to be facing E. Market St.) and don’t forget Lennie MacDonald’s The Hill (on top of S. Queen St., now Crimson occupies the spot). All great local watering and eating spots. Those were the good old days!”
So after all that, the restaurant became a few other things. Reader Carl Huber remembered Nicholas’s Pub, as did Debbie Mohr.
Others remembered the Big Boy restaurant in the same plaza, though I’m not sure if it was the same location or not, based on differing memories; Stephanie Beddia wrote, “I can still envision that big head!” of that restaurant. She added, “I spent a lot of time in that area. When Stanley Mailman opened his store, he asked my grandparents, then in their late 60s to come and work there. They worked there into their 80s.”
Another reader, Tony T., said he recalled a restaurant there called The HUB. I hadn’t yet heard of that one, but he says it had a really good crab imperial!
And more recently, Bob Anderson noted, “My son remembers a restaurant called Authors.” This is also a location I recall, and was in more recent years.
Bob wrote, “It was a very small place, and brought lots of folk singers in to perform. It was right next to the entrance of the Movie Theatre, and you could look into it when going into the theatre. This would have been on the north side of the alley, so north of Weis Market. And it was in the mid ’80s and ’90s, but I hope this helps.”
Finally, reader Carol reminded me of the Facebook group that my brother-in-law Mike and many other friends are active in, called I Grew Up in York, PA, in the 50’s & 60’s. She said, “We had quite a discussion about Squire’s Pub. This group is really into York PA from the past… 2000 members.”
I love to pop into that group when I can, and it was a great reminder to stop by for a visit!
Wow. Thank you all for recalling Squire’s Pub, Nicholas’s and other Mailman’s/Queensgate eateries of the past!