Tonawanda News — You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what’s changed and what never will.
A 1954 ad of the Glo-Mar Bar at 2809 Niagara Street (“3 Doors Past City Line”) indicates it provided “Boneless Blue Pike Fish Fry” on “Fri. & Sat.” for forty cents, spaghetti and meatballs for sixty cents and on “Sat. & Sun.” it was “Chicken-In-The-Basket” for a dollar.
At the Sunday Cocktail Hour of 1 to 6 p.m., “your favorite drinks” went for thirty cents each. Oh, and Joe “Soup” Sapuder was at the piano on Saturday nites. Not Saturday nights, Saturday nites.
Sounds like a friendly little place, nestled into that section of Tonawanda buffering the General Motors plant and Buffalo’s Riverside Park known as “Old Town.” At least it was then. The neighborhood retains something of a charming, dead-end kids aura to it, and I’ve observed residents who graduated to more opulent parts of the area speak of growing up there with pride and no lack of nostalgia.
Thousands likely patronized the Glo-Mar Bar (I mean, it was steps away from the car plant). I was not one of them, but a little research indicates it was known for its lime green interior. Not for a nightly brawl, not for the spectacular nature of its meatballs, but for its lime green interior. A hometown bar could have a worse reputation, I suppose.
The research also mentions a T-bone steak dinner for seventy-five cents, and “your choice of 12 tasty pizzas,” no prices mentioned.
So, urban archaeologists: Tonawanda had pizza as far back as 1954, as well as “Soup” Sapuder at the piano.
If this was a sappy local television news segment, this is the point at which we’d cue the atmospheric music (a little Dinah Shore would be nice) and say something about “going back in time” and “days gone by” and similar nostalgic claptrap.