Victoria Station Restaurants 1980s

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Victoria Station Restaurants 1980s
Posted by divebardave on Sunday, December 8, 2019 6:14 PM

Loved there prime rib...I guess as folks went lower calorie and less fat thinks changed..I having trouble finding out what happened to the old locations and the railroad cars that made it up https://www.vicsta.com/  talks a little about these guys.  I know of one location in the Boston Burbs.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 12, 2019 9:31 AM

I think what happened was they colossally overexpanded (they had over 100 very expensive restaurants at one point) and were hit by consequences of the 1985 tax changes and oil-based recession in some areas.  If I recall there were said to be hard times for the restaurant industry in general about that time.  There were press comments about their 'meat and potatoes fare' but it wouldn't have been hard for them to put 'green', vegan, etc. choices on the menu, freshen up the salad-bar choices, etc. if that had been a key to salvation.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Thursday, December 12, 2019 11:14 AM

Well we still have Victoria secrets.

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, December 12, 2019 4:50 PM

There used to be a Victoria station restuarant on Queens Quay East in Toronto. I never saw it open, it was just a few old box cars sitting on a lot with an attached building but it's long gone. If you want to eat in a train car, you can do it at this place north of Toronto. The burgers are cooked on real charcoal, not briquets and are really good. On summer weekends the lineups are long but move quickly. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webers 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, December 12, 2019 8:31 PM

People get tired of theme restaurants.

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Posted by bill613a on Friday, December 13, 2019 12:13 PM

They definitely over expanded but another problem they had was their advertising campaign. By using Johnny Cash as their spokesman they gave the impression that it was a family friendly (price wise) location similar to Ponderosa or Bonanza which it was not.

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Posted by 54light15 on Saturday, December 14, 2019 12:38 PM

The whole "steakhouse" thing is pretty well obsolete. Tassels on the menus, dark wood paneling, velvet seats, dry martinis. It would never occur to me to eat in a place like that. I guess 50-60 years ago when you could expense such a meal for all your Mad Men pals, it was the thing but not anymore. 

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, December 14, 2019 3:27 PM

Looking up Johnny Cash to see where his Victoria Station TV ads would be...If anyone can help me please do so. The problem is that this way before the internet and digital media so it could be deep in some film vault somewhere in the basement of a local TV Station. In the meantime here is Johnney Cash for Lionel-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmPuj_MQlXA&feature=emb_logo

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, December 14, 2019 5:33 PM

Victoria Station by Cash 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikl1H-FLNYo

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 15, 2019 8:16 AM

54light15
The whole "steakhouse" thing is pretty well obsolete. Tassels on the menus, dark wood paneling, velvet seats, dry martinis. It would never occur to me to eat in a place like that. I guess 50-60 years ago when you could expense such a meal for all your Mad Men pals, it was the thing but not anymore. 

Tell it to Ruth's Chris and the other 'high end' similar establishments.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 9:44 AM

BaltACD

 

 
54light15
The whole "steakhouse" thing is pretty well obsolete. Tassels on the menus, dark wood paneling, velvet seats, dry martinis. It would never occur to me to eat in a place like that. I guess 50-60 years ago when you could expense such a meal for all your Mad Men pals, it was the thing but not anymore. 

 

Tell it to Ruth's Chris and the other 'high end' similar establishments.

 

Ruth's Chris isn't super-high-end.  Yes it's expensive, but you do get your money's worth.

The scary one, the "expense account" kind of place, is Morton's Steak House.  One of my brothers-in-law suggested we go there to celebrate Lady Firestorm's mothers 80th birthday.

As soon as I saw the menu with no prices on it I knew we were in trouble.  We were able to cover the bill, but were very PO'd with BIL, an expense account guy, who should have warned us. 

There's a local restaurant here with an outstanding reputation.  I checked their on-line menu.  No prices listed.  "Fool me once..."

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Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 10:35 AM

Yeah, Ruth's Chris and Morton's. Forgot about those but I was thinking more on the line of a now-closed Michigan steak restaurant with a hokey name adjacent to a highway on-ramp. Like "The Knight's Round Table" or something like that. I did go into the Ruth's Chris in downtown Toronto once. The female staff all were rather well-endowed to say the least- all a businessman's fantasy I suppose. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:04 AM

Flintlock76
 
BaltACD 
54light15
The whole "steakhouse" thing is pretty well obsolete. Tassels on the menus, dark wood paneling, velvet seats, dry martinis. It would never occur to me to eat in a place like that. I guess 50-60 years ago when you could expense such a meal for all your Mad Men pals, it was the thing but not anymore.  

Tell it to Ruth's Chris and the other 'high end' similar establishments. 

Ruth's Chris isn't super-high-end.  Yes it's expensive, but you do get your money's worth.

The scary one, the "expense account" kind of place, is Morton's Steak House.  One of my brothers-in-law suggested we go there to celebrate Lady Firestorm's mothers 80th birthday.

As soon as I saw the menu with no prices on it I knew we were in trouble.  We were able to cover the bill, but were very PO'd with BIL, an expense account guy, who should have warned us. 

There's a local restaurant here with an outstanding reputation.  I checked their on-line menu.  No prices listed.  "Fool me once..."

It all falls under the 'thoughts of privilege' - "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it." 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:59 AM

Keep in mind that a proper steakhouse has, or in more civilized times had, two different menus, one with the prices and one (that used to be called the 'female menu' in kinder, gentler, more sexist times) that didn't.  Men on dates or seductions could keep mere pecuniary considerations out of that part of the evening.  Note that in some of these overly-stuck-up places you might have to ask for a menu with the prices listed, and they may have that Morgan 'take' on whether you truly "belong" there if you do.  Midwesterners will likely chuckle over New York steakhouses, but I never had trouble getting a menu with prices in one; perhaps that has changed now.

What he was talking about with the tassels and the red velour and dim lights wasn't high dollars for excellent steak, though: it's the whole Lawry's vibe of the early Sixties about what 'modern luxury' was supposed to be.  That dungeon/bordello thing gave you all the overpriced but not necessarily a good steak to justify it.

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 15, 2019 12:24 PM

54light15

 Forgot about those but I was thinking more on the line of a now-closed Michigan steak restaurant with a hokey name adjacent to a highway on-ramp. Like "The Knight's Round Table" or something like that. 

Were you thinking of Steak & Ale?  I find that the best prime rib places are independents.  Here in southern Michigan we have Win Schuler's in Marshall and Weber's in Ann Arbor.  Carl's Chop House on Grand River Ave in Detroit was very good before they closed it 20 years ago.

To keep the railroad theme, Marshall is where the old Michigan Central roundhouse that was moved to Greenfield Village originally was.

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Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 12:28 PM

Steak & Ale- yeah, I believe that is the place. It's near Plymouth, isn't it? 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 15, 2019 12:52 PM

54light15
Steak & Ale- yeah, I believe that is the place. It's near Plymouth, isn't it? 

The Steak & Ale chain was a member of the corporation that also had the Bennigan's chain.  The corporation went bankrupt about a decade ago and all their outlets were closed.  Some local managers were able to get financial backing to reopen their stores - some survived and others failed with their local ownership.

My experience with both chains was a reasonable meal for a reasonable price.

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 15, 2019 1:38 PM

BaltACD

 

 
54light15
Steak & Ale- yeah, I believe that is the place. It's near Plymouth, isn't it? 

 

The Steak & Ale chain was a member of the corporation that also had the Bennigan's chain.  The corporation went bankrupt about a decade ago and all their outlets were closed.  Some local managers were able to get financial backing to reopen their stores - some survived and others failed with their local ownership.

My experience with both chains was a reasonable meal for a reasonable price.

 

Yeah.  They were side by side in Plymouth.  That location is only a mile from my house.  They've been closed for years and yet nothing has been developed there, even though it's a prime location.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 3:34 PM

BaltACD

 

 
54light15
Steak & Ale- yeah, I believe that is the place. It's near Plymouth, isn't it? 

 

The Steak & Ale chain was a member of the corporation that also had the Bennigan's chain.  The corporation went bankrupt about a decade ago and all their outlets were closed.  Some local managers were able to get financial backing to reopen their stores - some survived and others failed with their local ownership.

My experience with both chains was a reasonable meal for a reasonable price.

 

So that's what happened to "Steak and Ale."  I figured as much, a major foul-up on the corporate level.  There was a "S&A" locally that we enjoyed very much, it was always doing good business, and then it was gone.  

Same as "Friendlys."  I haven't heard but I suspect it was another corporate level foul-up that caused them to crash.

Refer to my comments about "Some people are too smart for their own good." 

PS on the "Mortons" episode.  Afterward Lady Firestorm told her mother "Mom, we love you, but on your 85th birthday we're taking you out for pizza!"  

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 15, 2019 3:54 PM

Flintlock76
Same as "Friendlys."  I haven't heard but I suspect it was another corporate level foul-up that caused them to crash.

Refer to my comments about "Some people are too smart for their own good." 

Friendly's still exists - just not on the scale that it once did.  I can think of about 10 that were within about 20 miles of my house in all directions - Google indicates there are only 2 left in the state.

Organizations think they have found 'the way' and overexpand their way into oblivion.

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Posted by divebardave on Sunday, December 15, 2019 4:10 PM

Then there was the Mafia/Teamsters Steakhouses that your name ended with a Hoffa or a O that might be your last meal and you never sit with your back to the door.see- http://www.diamondgrille.com/#since-1941  or Marios in Detroit...Love the Irishman Movie it is the Godfather for the 21st century.

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Posted by divebardave on Sunday, December 15, 2019 4:15 PM

Freindlys as well as HOJO's aka Howard Johnsons were the goto places in New England..Freindlys got dirtier and Hojos hotels and restarants got ran into the ground. No investment to spruce up the place for 30 years. Same with K-mart

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 4:16 PM

The background of Ruth's Chris Steak House is an amazing story.

I lived in New Orleans during the time the restaurant grew.

The restaurant started in New Orleans.  In the 1960s (I think) Ruth Fertel, a single mother, bought the restaurant for under $20,000 and made it into a nationwide chain.

Through the 60s to the 90s, the restaurant was the center of New Orleans politics. The mayor, the Louisiana governor, and every politician needing connections ate lunch there, and every journalist who wanted a political scoop ate there.  It was in an old section of town, and there was no parking, but it boomed.

If I remember, it was the only major restaurant with all women employees.

I haven't lived there for a long time, and I believe Katrina ruined the original place, and I'm not sure if there is even a New Orleans Ruth's Chris anymore.

 

Backshop
I find that the best prime rib places are independents. 

I think you're right.  If you want a great steak, check with locals.  It may not be a widely known restaurant that has the best steaks.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 5:23 PM

One has to wonder if business' desire to expand or die comes from some of the business schools.  Having lived thru the New Coke fiasco that appeared to be a forgotten ----  Know your clientel and do not P--- them off,   Another item is a new product comes out and sells well but there is not enough repeat business because 1.  Persons do not like it.  2.  More product is not yet needed as original has not been finished.

I have purchased a product , liked it, stocked a little more but took 6 months to finish and cannot find it any more.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, December 15, 2019 8:17 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Flintlock76
Same as "Friendlys."  I haven't heard but I suspect it was another corporate level foul-up that caused them to crash.

Refer to my comments about "Some people are too smart for their own good." 

 

Friendly's still exists - just not on the scale that it once did.  I can think of about 10 that were within about 20 miles of my house in all directions - Google indicates there are only 2 left in the state.

Organizations think they have found 'the way' and overexpand their way into oblivion.

 

I wonder if Flintlock was refering to Finley's, which is a small stakehouse chain in Michigan that still has some restaurants.  Friendly's started out as a New England ice cream store, and spread thru the east.

Win Schulers also branched out, but I believe is just back to his original restaurant in Marshall.  Bill Knapp's was another Michigan (not strictly stakehouse) chain that folded.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, December 16, 2019 6:53 AM

The best steakhouses are the ones that are locally owned, although they tend to be somewhat upscale and a bit pricey.  There are several in Chicago, mostly located in the Near North area and you will get a good steak, but you will pay for it.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Overmod on Monday, December 16, 2019 9:18 AM

Friendly's was famous in Bergen County in the last years I lived there.  Frequently went to the one on County Road.  My father took to liking IHOP so he and I stopped going as frequently.  Apparently the quality of service dropped off dramatically before the end.  I don't think any Friendly's is still open in North Jersey; the familiar building on County Road now serves some kind of Asian food.

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, December 16, 2019 11:41 AM

Still have Friendly's down in Florida ..

I grew up in KC ..  any steakhouse where you have to order a baked potato on the side for $10 or more is not worth it :)

 

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, December 16, 2019 12:06 PM

If you want good grub in any town, look for where the police and lawyers go. I was in Melbourne Florida years ago and almost everything there is a national chain but I did find a place with cop cars and Cadillacs in the parking lot- it was a place by the loading dock in back of a shopping plaza. Just one door and a window. I don't recall just how I found it, but the food was excellent. Then there was Jimmy Joe's barbecue joint on Highway A1A at Mebourne Beach- that place was awesome! There again the parking lot was full of cop cars and inside, police were enjoying that 'cue! 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, December 16, 2019 3:33 PM

Utility trucks are also a good indicator 

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