Cleveland, Ohio 2021-06-10 16:30:00 –
Few dining experiences can withstand the indelible memories of a meal shared with the family. However, after a sip of corn-scented hash puppies at Garfield Heights Arthur Reachers Fish and Chips, he quickly returned to the Mayfield Road restaurant. In the mid-1970s, the store, with its iconic yellow and green lantern sign, was a unanimous fast food favorite between me and my brothers. The seafood-focused menu was a bit more upscale than a regular burger barn, and filling everything with malt vinegar seemed comfortable, foreign and exotic.
Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips has recently toured the news circuit, despite virtually disappearing from the surface of the Earth. This is because parent company Nathan’s Famous recently announced plans to expand its historic brand presence by offering a ghost kitchen franchise.
“Nathan’s Famous and Arthur Treacher have a long-standing relationship, evolving the menu to meet the motto of Nathan’s” Craving, Memorable, Instagrammable “product, which both operators and customers believe, while maintaining the brand tradition. We have been working hard to maintain a traditional menu item. “Love,” said James Walker, senior vice president of Nathan.
The relationship between Nathan’s Famous and Arthur Trichers was born when Nathan’s, a former franchisee of Arthur Trichers, decided to take over the parent company altogether. Nathan’s Famous, which started selling hot dogs in 1916, has expanded dramatically in recent years and is scattered all over the world. Some stores offer a limited line of Arthur Treacher’s cuisine.
Things start to get even more confusing when trying to link Nathan’s Arthur Treacher’s version with the last two physical restaurants of the same name in northeastern Ohio. These restaurants are owned by Ben Vittoria, who has been involved with Arthur Treacher’s since the mid-1970s.
“We have a unique situation,” explains Vittoria. “Arthur Treacher’s have been sold many times, one of which holds rights in Ohio and Virginia, so it has nothing to do with Nathan.”
Few people are as familiar with the rise and fall of iconic brands as Vittoria. After joining the parent company at the corporate level in the 1970s, he switched to ownership, buying a place in Kaiyahoga Falls in 1988 and a Garfield Heights shop in 2001. In 2005, he opened a Kaiya Hoga Falls store from the original 1972 building to a former Wendy’s with a drive-through window.
Arthur Treacher started in Columbus in 1969 and eventually grew into a national chain of over 825 locations. For most accounts, the two Ohio stores are the last independent restaurants to offer original menus starring hand-struck fish and chips.
“Most of the old franchisees have reached the age of retirement or death,” he says. “Others have decided to change to something else.”
Since Vittoria has worked at the corporate level for years, he is familiar with the original recipes, seasonings and specifications, protecting them all from loyalty and continuity.
“There are many differences between what Nathan’s uses today and what we use, because we continue to use traditional Arthur Treacher chicken, shrimp and clams. I don’t think Nathans is using these products, “he explains.
Both use the same batter and hash puppies mix, but Nathan’s uses crinkle-cut french fries instead of the original thick raised “chips”.
I’ve always known that Arthur Treacher’s restaurant is 30 minutes from my house, but I was forced to visit it. Only when I knew how few actually existed I realized I would go quite later. I was worried that a pandemic had occurred and I might have missed the window. But they survived.
“Like many restaurants, we had to endure uncertain times,” says Vittoria. “Not only did we have to deal with the pandemic, but we also had to deal with the rules and regulations of the CDC. But we adapted. Thanks to the drive-through, Kaiyahoga Falls is easier. But in the last few months, we’ve seen a resurgence of those who eat. ”
A few weeks ago, I went to Arthur Treacher’s for the first time in 40 years and ordered almost all of the menu. Crispy pie-shaped fish fillets were soaked in tartar sauce. I put the fried clams on the cocktail sauce. I sprinkled a lot of malt vinegar on those fat fries. And I smoked heavenly hash puppies. I took a picture of my food and immediately sent a text message to my brother so I could share my experience. Their synapses also dredged the memories of clam strips, hash puppies, and paper ships decades ago.
Nostalgia is a strong emotion, but is it enough to bring the business to life?
“Arthur Treacher’s is brand-aware and always so,” says Vittoria. “This is a concept that started in 1969 and grew into more than 800 restaurants in the mid-1970s. People brought children, and now they bring grandchildren. And now the millennial generation is coming, I’ve come here with my grandpa, or my mother has brought this food home and says we loved it. ”
Vittoria adds that he can’t make calls from coveted food tourists who have heard that Arthur Treacher is alive in Cleveland, Ohio. I am in the towns of Florida, Arizona and New Paltz.
Vittoria still loves the piece, but he wasn’t willing to bet on its long-term survival.
“From a business point of view, I didn’t work unless I believed it was worth it,” he says. “But I’m in the twilight of my experience at Treacher’s. I’ve been in the company for nearly 50 years and I have only good memories.”
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