The original London Chop House in Detroit’s Murphy Building on Congress.
The original London Chop House in Detroit’s Murphy Building on Congress.

Let’s never forget the eateries that put Detroit dining on the map.

If you’ve ever been told by an out-of-towner that Detroit and its suburbs were gastronomic deserts, don’t believe it … When it came to restaurants, this eatery would usually be up there among the world dining leaders.

The original London Chop House in Detroit’s Murphy Building on Congress, when owned by brothers Les and Sam Gruber and Al Woolf, was a huge favorite … The original London Chop House of yesteryears, as example, was the epitome of elegance that many times was talked about in gastronomic circles.

Hy Vogel’s caricatures of visiting celebrities lined upper portions of the ceiling … and were elegant darlings that had many returning for additional presences … Its national reputation was enhanced by the appearances of executive chefs like Jimmy Schmidt or Milos Cihelka working the kitchen at the original London Chef House… It also may have earned its high standing when Chef Caesar Cardini in Tijuana, Mexico, selected the London Chop House to introduce his top-ranked Caesar Salad.

Hy Vogel caricatures that used to hang in the London Chop House.
Hy Vogel caricatures that used to hang in the London Chop House.

Without much doubt, the original London Chop House was probably was one of America’s better restaurants.

WE HAVE BEEN asked many times why restaurants of yesteryears are talked about when they are no longer in existence … The reasoning is to always let people … especially the younger guys and gals … know that Detroit and its suburbs were never slouch locales when it came to fine dining or just plain eateries … but also for various other reasons.

Like Hello Dolly, where Stewie Siegel was among the first restaurant owners here to put telephones on every table … Or Stewie’s partner at their Alamo Lounge, Max Spigelman, who was totally blind, but manned the cash register and took cash … Many restaurants were hangouts, too, but served as important places in the hearts of those who attended … Like Sam and Ella Ederman meeting at Jack’s Lounge and becoming husband and wife … Lou and Sol Germain, introduced at the Great Dane, and becoming husband and wife … Or going to Ruth and Harry Levenberg’s Andersen Gardens just to take home her chili …  or Frank Sinatra eating barbecue ribs from owners Pat Archer and Marty Wilk at Excalibur, who also sent them to his hotel room. 

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Abe is out walking when a luxury car pulls up to him with his friend Yitzhak at the wheel.

“Where did you get such a nice car?” asks Abe.

“My new wife, Sarah, gave it to me,” says Yitzhak.

“Mazel tov!” says Abe, “I knew Sarah was in love with you, but to give you such a car?”

“Well,” says Yitzhak, “even I thought it was strange. We were out driving when she suddenly drove into a small hidden area. She got out of the car, took off her clothes and said, ‘Yitzhak, now that we are married, take whatever you want.’ So I took the car.”

“You are one smart cookie,” says Abe. “Her clothes would never have fit you!”

CONGRATS … To Suretta Binder on her birthday.

Danny’s email address is dannyraskin2132@gmail.com.

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