Charlie Hess, Bala Cynwyd 1956
Solly Haase emigrated to Philadelphia from Germany in the 1920s, starting out as a bootlegger and becoming a restaurateur after Prohibition ended in 1933. He was proprietor of the Sansom House and the Sunken Gardens restaurant and used Hess as a business name, Haase often being mispronounced.
His son Charlie opened this popular Bala Cynwd restaurant, naming it after his father. Charlie Hess’s was a popular establishment in its day, a magnet for prominent Philadelphia professional athletes and TV and movie personalities.
Charlie’s son Marty wrote to us with wonderful memories of working in his father’s restaurant. As a teenager, he was a busboy, waiter, bartender, parking lot attendant and even maître d – that’s a family-owned restaurant for you – everyone had to chip in and work hard.
Charlie’s wife Betty – apparently a knockout Marilyn Monroe lookalike – also joined the staff on busy Saturday nights, working alongside her husband and son as hostess.
When he was 16 and old enough to drive the family car, Marty was instructed to drive around town to suss out other restaurants, checking competitors parking lots and reporting back to his Dad. Smart kid!
The restaurant closed in the mid-1960s. ‘My father worked every day of the year, awakening before dawn and returning home each night after midnight. I decided early on not to live that kind of life, knowing the burden it placed on family,’ said Marty, who was in the marketing business.
Charlie Hess died in 2008 but part of his legacy lives on in the memories of his family members and in this stylish vintage menu cover.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.
All printed in USA.
Each product is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.