New Title Now Available: Classic Restaurants of Youngstown

restaurant bookClassic Restaurants of Youngstown, by local authors Thomas Welsh and Gordon F. Morgan is now available in the Arms Family Museum gift shop!

The MVHS Archives provided historical images as well as access to menus, advertisements, and other materials related to the local restaurant industry. “This project would not have been possible without the full cooperation of the Historical Society,” remarked Welsh. “From the outset, Bill Lawson permitted the use of scores of historical images from the MVHS’s collection. Meanwhile, archivist Pam Speis tracked down volumes of material related to the history of local restaurants, while also assisting in the selection of images for the book. We hope this collaborative effort will help to stimulate public interest in Youngstown’s rich and colorful history.” Welsh will give a presentation on the Classic Restaurants at Memorable Meals on Sunday, April 27th at the Tyler History Center.

Classic Restaurants of Youngstown opens with a description of downtown Youngstown after World War II, when the district was studded with dozens of restaurants, including the Mural Room, Raver’s, the Italian Restaurant, and Jay’s Lunch. As the community’s center of gravity shifted, however, many of the city’s popular restaurants—including the Colonial House, the Mansion, and Cicero’s—operated in newly developed commercial hubs like the Uptown District.

While the book describes the manner in which trends like suburbanization and deindustrialization contributed to the decline of the city’s restaurant industry, it also calls attention to establishments that have served as symbols of continuity in changing neighborhoods, including the MVR, the Golden Dawn, and the Boulevard.  Meanwhile, the narrative describes how Youngstown’s ethnic and racial diversity shaped the development of a unique local cuisine that remains one of the community’s greatest assets.

Classic Restaurants of Youngstown ends on a hopeful note, concluding with a description of Youngstown’s revitalized downtown, which currently hosts an impressive range of restaurants, eateries, nightclubs and coffee shops. The 224-page book was produced in partnership with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, which provided historical images as well as access to menus, advertisements, and other materials related to the local restaurant industry.

Welsh previously co-authored Strouss’: Youngstown’s Dependable Store, a historical overview of Youngstown’s iconic Strouss’ Department Store, which was established in 1875 and operated until 1986. Morgan has contributed articles to various local news publications, including Metro Monthly.  In addition, he writes for and edits Drum and Bugle Call, the newsletter of the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, where he serves as program director.