Before two-car families or suburban shopping in T-shirts and blue jeans, moms and kids took the bus to downtown Akron to shop at O’Neil’s and Polsky’s department stores. Trips that included a lunchtime stop at O’Neil’s fanciest restaurant, the Georgian Room, were truly special occasions.
A popular restaurant any time of year, the Georgian Room really came to life around the holidays. Buzzing with shoppers, many dressed to the nines, it had a formal air of elegance with a friendly, welcoming touch.
Former waitress Doratha Jessie, now 92 years old, loved her time there. She started at the Georgian Room one Christmas season, shortly after she was married and stayed on after the holidays at their request. She continued working there until her retirement at age 65.
The Georgian Room catered to children long before doing so was in vogue. “We had a little red hen for chicken casserole—creamed chicken over mashed potatoes,” Jessie says. “Kids who wouldn’t eat anything else would eat out of that (hen).”
The fresh fruit salad topped with sherbet was a ladies’ luncheon favorite. Jessie remembers a long-term customer who began ordering it when she was pregnant and having a hard time keeping food down. That lady’s son, Jimmy, grew up lunching with his mother at the Georgian Room. Through the years, Jimmy brought miniatures for her collection from a variety of destinations his family visited while his dad worked for Goodyear International. He even stopped by to see her when he was home from college on breaks.
“Heavens, we had a big menu,” Jessie recalls. “We really had good food, that’s for sure.”