Stouffer's Restaurants

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TheStranger
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Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by TheStranger » 11 Nov 2006 06:34

Most people recognize Stouffer's as a frozen-dinner brand...but apparently they started off as a restaurant chain. From the June 1959 issue of Chain Store Age, page E46:
Stouffer to open fourth restaurant

The first phase of a nearly $3-million expansion program of the Stouffer Corp. was recently completed with the opening of its fourth restaurant in Philadelphia. The two level unit has 625 seats with an area of 26,000 square feet.
The lower level of the restaurant is built out from beneath a plaza walk and faces on a garden court section of the concourse.
The second step of the program is scheduled for completion this month with the poening of a $1 1/2 million dollar unit in Jenkintown, Pa.
Vernon Stouffer, president of the chain, noted that the two new restaurants would bring the total in the Philadelphia area to five, more than in any other city in which the chain operates. "The management food service and frozen food service divisions of the chain are also due for expansion," Mr. Stouffer added.
Chris Sampang

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 11 Nov 2006 09:16

Stouffer's also had hotels at one time, too. The company began with a restuarant in Cleveland which was enormously successful. It was perhaps the best restuarant in town in the late '40's - and this was at a time when Cleveland was among the 10 largest cities in the country.

Somewhere I have a Life magazione from the late '40's that mentions Stouffer's. One of the things that the restaurant was known for was having "comely" waitresses, known as "Stouffer's girls". That was always a source of amusement to me because my mother worked her way through college as a "Stouffer's girl" from about 1947 to 1949. I got a lot of stories about the various rules they had to follow and some of the celebreties she waited on.

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Stouffer's

Post by J-Man » 11 Nov 2006 10:21

The Hilton Hotel at Washington National Airport used to be a Stouffer's also.

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 11 Nov 2006 13:37

Here's an article from Time magazine in 1940:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 05,00.html

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Post by rich » 12 Nov 2006 00:31

Stoiuffer got out of the restaurant business in phases during the late 70s/early 80s. First they closed the restaurants with the Stouffer name. Then they closed the boutique chains that had been established in the 70s, like the Cheese Cellar. The restaurants started out as lunch counters and then went modestly upscale. The frozen food business evolved from the restaurants at that stage. The frozen foods ruined the restaurant business, because the menus for the restaurants and the frozen foods had become intertwined and the restaurants didn't change with the times. Nestle bought business after Stouffer had branched into frozen food, but Vern & Mary Stouffer's nephew, Hamilton Biggar ran the business for many years under Nestle. The Stouffers were friends of an aunt and uncle of mine.

Stouffer's had some prime restaurant locations in major cities. The hotels were first class operations and included some established prestige properties like the Mayflower hotel in DC. Many of the Stouffer hotels continue as franchises of 1st class chains like Renaissance (which took over most of them) and InterContinental.

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Post by rich » 13 Nov 2006 16:30

Biggar was Stouffer's son-in-law, not nephew His grandfather was John D. Rockefeller's physician.

More trivia--Vernon Stouffer led a syndicate that owned the Cleveland Indians in the 60s--they kept the franchise in Cleveland, but did little to attract & retain better players.

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Post by dth1971 » 24 Jan 2007 17:32

There was a Stouffer Hotel in Itasca, IL called The Hamilton that is now called The Wyndam Hotel Itasca. They have a great Sunday Brunch there!

pen67

stouffers foods

Post by pen67 » 24 Jan 2007 23:35

Stouffer Family

At a neighborhood party in Lakewood, Vernon met Gertrude (Trudy) Dean. They were married in 1928. Vernon ushered at old League Park and grew up to own the Cleveland Indians (1966-72). Vernon saved the team from moving its franchise out of town.

He headed a chain of restaurants and hotels, and expanded into the frozen food business. The hotel on Public Square, bought in 1978, eventually became one of 44 Stouffer hotels in the United States, Caribbean and Mexico.

They valued his company at $120 million when it merged with Litton Industries in 1967. It was worth even more when it became part of Nestle Alimentana, a Swiss concern, in 1973.

Though he made an indelible mark in business, sports and philanthropy, his beginnings were not auspicious. About 1915, Vernon's father, Abraham Stouffer, opened a small stand in the downtown Arcade, selling buttermilk and pie baked by Mahala Stouffer, Vernon's mother. That stand was the forerunner of the Stouffer Co., founded by Vernon, his brother Gordon, and their father in 1924. That same year the family opened at East Ninth and Euclid the first of its many restaurants.

Vernon died in 1974 at age 72 after a heart attack. At the time of his death, he and wife Gertrude lived in an apartment at Winton Place on Lakewood's Gold Coast.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by LadyNoir » 12 Oct 2008 19:54

Does anyone have pictures of the old Stouffer's restaurants or know of a book where I can find them. I have always been curious to see what these look like.

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Daniel
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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by Daniel » 13 Oct 2008 14:22

The Westgate Mall in Fairview Park (Cleveland suburb) has a Stouffer's restaurant at one time. When they demolished the mall and built a big box center, they covered the storefronts under construction with photo murals of the old mall. One of them had a picture of the sign for Stouffer's, I took a picture of it which I will post once I find it.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by robdude » 13 Oct 2008 17:31

http://mallsofamerica.blogspot.com/2007 ... enter.html

Eastland Center, Harper Woods, Michigan. Loooong gone.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by jimbobga » 13 Oct 2008 19:32

Apparently these restaurants weren't confined to the northern areas of the United States. In the early sixties, a Stouffer's restaurant was opened at Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was located off of the lobby at the new Sheraton Hotel. This was Cocoa Beach's second chain restaurant at the time, with the first being Howard Johnson's which opened only slightly earlier. As a kid, this hotel and restaurant came across as being "ritzy," and we never ate there. I would imagine the restaurant lasted on Cocoa Beach for maybe a couple of years.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by rich » 13 Oct 2008 20:45

Shaker Square in Cleveland---current location of the CVS. Just imagine the Stouffer script from the frozen food on the front.

The Pier W restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio began as a Stouffer under the "Pier W' name.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by LadyNoir » 13 Oct 2008 22:02

I totally forgot about that photo on Malls Of America.

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Re: Stouffer's Restaurants

Post by enginecapt » 14 Oct 2008 03:06

As a kid, I distinctly remember eating at a Stouffer's restaurant somewhere in the L.A. area back in the early sixties. It was in their banquet room because my Grandmother was getting some kind of award from the Daughters of the Confederacy. The reason I remember it was: I liked the food and I was allowed to take home all the little soldier figures that decorated the tables.
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