Monday, November 07, 2005

Conn's Cafeteria

This entry is prompted by memories triggered from photographs in Springfield Rewind: Monroe Between 5th & 6th - 1949, featuring the Senate Movie Theater on the north side of Monroe between Fifth and Sixth.

By the 70's, on each side of the Senate were dining establishments. You could get into both those restaurants from doorways inside the lobby of the Senate, or, of course, from the street.

Obscured in the Springfield Rewind photo is the one immediately to the west. I might be wrong, but I believe it was Conn's. Perhaps Conn's Cafeteria. The place was long and narrow. When you walked in the door from the street, there were tables in front, and towards the middle on the left was the serving line. Across from the serving line, on the right, were more tables lined up against the wall.

Some days, I would stop in Conn's on my way to work. There was one lady working there at that time of the morning. Her name was Margie. She was old, and small, and wiry. She was always nice to me.

Margie could take a cinnamon danish, and in the blink of an eye, cut it into two slices. She would butter the cut side of each half, toss them on a hot griddle, and squish them down with a trowel until both parts were heated to perfection. The whole process took about a minute and a half.

I would take that grilled danish back to my desk on the 11th floor of the Ridgely Building and just about swoon from the taste. It was so wonderfully delicious. That original taste is something I've never been able to recreate. The danish and a Coke cost a dollar.

If I got anything wrong in this entry, please let me know in the comments. I'm particularly concerned I might have got the name of the place wrong.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Margie later have her own place, a sort of greasy chilli and burger joint right along there, too? Seems to me I remember that around 1974-75?

7:26 PM  
Blogger Wama said...

Margie was my mother-in-law. She did have her own place...Margie's Sandwich Shop. The shop was first in the Conn's location and later when the apartments were built downtown she moved to another spot on Monroe. She had the best chilli in town...grease and all! She was small and wiry..barely 5 ft tall and she was nice to everyone!

1:08 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Marie,

Your memories of Conn's are correct. What a great place to go to!

Do you remember seeing a very short, petite woman there (a waitress) with very dark brown hair and brown eyes named Helen?

I appreciate your memories!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could Conn's cafeteria have been called Strong's cafeteria in the mid to late 50s?

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to find someone who remembers Strongs Cafeteria and maybe find someone who remembers the meatballs they used to serve....
Conns was a different place.. I think they stayed open all night.
I remember meeting my Uncle downtown when he waited for the newspapers to be printed. They had Cheese Danish.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strongs Cafeteria was on the right as you faced the Senate - had cushed ice displayed with such beautiful food - really fancy to me as a child.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Toni Hilton said...

Roy Conn owned a restaurant on Washington Street and bought Margie's place, to the left of the Senate, where I worked, and also owned Strongs Cafeteria where he started his catering business in the late 60s, I filled in there once in awhile and my sister worked at that one. Roy Conn was a big influence to our family and one of the nicest, sweetest people I've ever met! His oldest son took over the catering business and has played a big part of the growing in downtown Springfield! FABULOUS MEMORIES!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Used to go to Conn's in 1963-1964 to eat lunch with my basketball coach from Springfield Jr. College: Chris Denis. Sure miss those days. Wonder if Mr. Denis is still with us. Never could find him. He was a very good friend with Roy Conn. Mr. Denis was a minor league catcher with the N.Y. Yankees, I believe.

11:38 PM  
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10:29 PM  

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