In Honor of my Pappy... on Father's Day!
Last fall, Don and I had a whirlwind, less than 24 hour trip to Springfield. My dad, (Pappy is a name I don't believe he's ever been called) was happy to show us this funny little bar & cafe on a chilly October evening.
We headed towards the flag and up a step or two to the door. The funny bar/handle did not open the door. What was that thing for?
Once a Store
The cafe is still in an old neighborhood, but it's changed a bit since it was built in 1903. It was a grocery first, then became a cafe in the 1920's. In 1971, it became Pappy's Cafe, although some call it Pappy's Place.
I'm guessing these booths might be from that 1971 re-opening. They look a little more like a "Subway Sandwich Shop" than a retro BBQ joint. But that's okay, the pulled pork with Gold Sauce was pretty amazing! The prices seemed like 1970's prices, too.
Too bad there wasn't room at the bar, since that seemed to be the place everyone gathered. There's also a little history with this place and liquor. Pappy's claims to be the oldest Springfield business to have a "beer by the drink license", acquired just after prohibition.
There were lots of framed photos and articles covering the walls. This one intrigued me with its orderly appearance. I'm not sure when this was taken, but it looks pretty snazzy with white tablecloths.
Chatting with Linda
I believe Linda was the name of the woman who helped Don choose a Pappy's tee shirt. She told us a little about the history of Pappy's while she dug through the shirt options.
I was glad to hear the building has been owned by the same family for generations. Linda told us, "The woman who owns it now, still comes in every month to collect rent." The 4th generation owner must be getting on in years, because she was evidently the one who had the confusing metal bar installed outside the door. I suddenly realized that "door handle" was really there to aide the elderly... or the drunk as they come and go.
Down the Road Cherry Street Grocery
Sitting in Pappy's and imagining it as an old grocery store reminded my dad of the years he worked at the Cherry Street Grocery as a young man.
The next morning we got Dad back in the car and drove a few miles from Pappy's to the old store where Dad had worked, from age 14 until he started college. Now the building houses a health food store.
A Quick Look Inside
Dad stayed in the car while Don and I ran in to have a look. I loved the bright green walls and the homey aisles filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Brad welcomed us from behind wooden counter, which I'm guessing was there, back when my father was, over 70 years ago! Brad seemed delighted to hear that I wanted to peek at the store where my dad had worked for 25 cents an hour, often 11 hours a day. He kept asking, "Are you sure your dad doesn't want to come in?"
Dad was pleased to hear our good report when we returned to the car, but he didn't think he needed to make a trip inside. (I think his legs were bothering him) Just as we started to pull out of the parking space, Brad came trotting up to Dad's window and handed him a cold bottle of Cherry Tree Root Beer. He introduced himself and they chatted a bit through the window.
So the meal at Pappy's is a good example of my favorite kind of Dining Adventure. I love it when a cafe or restaurant experience doesn't end when you walk out the door.
The atmosphere and history of Pappy's lead us on down the road to... to experience a little piece of my own dad's history. It's never just about the food!
Happy Father's Day to My Dad and Pappy's!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.