No, you can’t survive on the Asher’s chocolate and other goods sold at the candy counter on the ground floor of Strawbridge & Clothier. You can’t even find Strawbridge & Clothier anymore. It was purchased by the May Company in the 90’s. They changed the name to Strawbridge’s and in the last year did away with that and it’s now Macy’s.
But oh what a wonderland Strawbridge & Clothier was. With it’s old school employees who wore the name tags on long chains around their necks. TV’s, carpet, furniture, clothes, appliances – you name it, they had it. A few times a year they had “Clover Days”, where sales abounded in all departments.
Time to pay? You’d whip out your trusty little blue Strawbridge & Clothier charge card at the reasonable rate of about 25% interest, and they’d offer not to bill you until the second coming of Christ – all while interest piled up.
But I digress. On the first floor of Strawbridge’s was the housewares, electronics, candy counter, etc. On the second floor was all the clothing, perfume, jewelry and other things that made a five year old lose life just having suffer through the shopping torture of it all.
Then there was the mystical third floor. What was up there?
A restaurant was up there. Back in the day it was a lunch counter and sit down restaurant to feed weary shoppers. Nothing fancy, yet more refined then the Harvest House at Woolworth’s. I remember eating there a few times with my mom and my grandmother during shopping adventures.
The restaurant survived until the late 80’s. By the mid 90’s it was there, frozen, like a time capsule from the mall’s late 60’s debut. Eventually it was gutted to make room for women’s dresses and the credit department.
I don’t remember if it had a name. It was not the only one. Other Strawbridge’s in other malls (and standalone stores) had restaurants. The department store restaurant is a thing of the past now, existing only as a relic in a few places around America.
The Clover (Strawbridge’s discount chain that shuttered in the late 90s) around the corner from my house growing up had a “Clover Kitchen”. It closed in the early 90’s and sat dormant at the back of the store.
Some day we’ll cover The Patio restaurant at Hess’s flagship store in Allentown.
Until then, sit down at the counter, order up an orange soda and a tuna melt and whip out your little blue Strawbridge & Clothier card to pay for it.
It’s Clover Day again.