Patricia Evans Degenhart
flagolfer@gmail.com

The red star marks the approximate location of the Manor House, prior to the construction of the Newark Freeway and the relocation of Church Street.

In the eyes of a now 9-year old girl, THE showpiece of The Manor House was the beautiful bubbler juke box with changing colored lights. This sentinel stood guard in the middle of the dining room. At six plays for a quarter, it was a bargain even by 1950 standards. 

The Manor House served sundaes in these Bakelite dishes lined with paper vortex inserts. It didn’t take long for a pre-teen girl to figure out that the paper inserts made great looking “breasts” under a sweater - that is until they became dimpled after brushing up against something.

nerkahia.com

Chris and Naomi Evans 1977

Before it was time for the noon lunch crowd, Naomi would come in and take care of “front of the house” prep. She and one or two other waitresses served the food and bussed the tables. I intentionally use the term waitress because that is what they were called back then. The noon lunch trade came primarily from the Ohio State Highway Department (now the site of the Texas Road House) and later State Farm when it opened its new office on Granville Road. 

After several years, the Manor House was updated. Steaks and burgers that were prepared on a flat top grill in the past were now cooked on a commercial gas-fired grill. The flat top grill remained for breakfast items, grilled cheese, etc. Once again the soda fountain was spared the remodeler’s axe. But, the young girl’s beloved juke box was replaced by of all things: a hi-fi record player. No more “The Thing”,“Tennessee Waltz”, or “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window”. Now it was all Mantovani and Strauss waltzes.

The White Cottage was best known for its creamed chicken sandwiches.

Drain a 48-ounce can of boned chicken (reserve broth). Gordon Food Services’ (GFS) Hearthstone Pulled Chicken works well (read labels and avoid brands with ground up fat and/or skin). Pick through the chicken to remove any veins. Add a 10 ½ -ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup (undiluted). Mix gently and heat. Taste it to see if you need to use part of another can of soup. If it tastes OK, but is too dry, add a little of the reserved broth.

The author in 1956

Chris and Naomi Evans enlarged the original White Cottage for inside dining, discontinued curb service, but kept the soda fountain. The Manor House was born. The new name was derived from the fact the property was located in the Broadway Manor addition. 

The soda water was “jerked” into the glass. The term “jerk” comes from the jerking motion the person made on the soda water handle (hence the name “soda jerk”). Watch how a draft beer is drawn to get a nice head on it, and you’ll get the idea of the “jerking” motion.

The White Cottage served delicious French fries. Chris peeled the potatoes by hand and cut each potato one at a time using a French fry potato cutter mounted to a large butcher block work table. Then the potatoes were stored in containers of icy cold water until fried.

Manor House then relocated to the east side of South 30th Street between Wells and Idlewilde Avenues. So that's the story of one small part of Nerk, Ahia. The next time you drive by the Church Street/Country Club Drive area when on the freeway, think back on an earlier time. 

Old, once familiar landmarks are gone now

Manor House 1950's Jukebox Favorites
Hey There – Rosemary Clooney
Mona Lisa – Nat King Cole
Mocking Bird Hill – Les Paul & Mary Ford
Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes
Sincerely – McGuire Sisters
Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page
The Thing – Phil Harris
This Ole House – Rosemary Clooney
‘Til I Waltz Again with You – Teresa Brewer
Wheel of Fortune – Kay Starr

primarily a drive-in plus there was a lunch counter inside. Behind the lunch counter was a large soda fountain where they made brown cows (root beer floats), chocolate malts, and chocolate sodas with hand-dipped ice cream. Or you could opt for root beer or coke (plain, cherry, vanilla, or chocolate) made by putting the syrup in the glass and then adding the soda water. 

Cars hurry by on the Newark, Ohio Freeway (Route 16) transporting their passengers to their destinations. Even if the driver and passengers take a second or two to glance down at the roadway below, the West Church Street and Country Club Drive area bears little, if any, resemblance to how it looked over 60 years ago. Old, once familiar landmarks are gone now. Few people today remember Dugway Roadside Park; Broadway Nite Club; the Dairy Queen; Dugway Market or the Manor House Restaurant. The Manor House - - In the beginning, it was more than a favorite watering hole for
​college students.

Although the French fries were wonderful, The White Cottage was best known for its creamed chicken sandwiches. After the chickens were cooked and the bones and skin removed, the meat was coarsely shredded and mixed with "made from scratch" rich chicken gravy. You can easily make what will pass for this "root beer stand" delicacy.
(See recipe above.)

The other specialty was Chris’ homemade pies. He’d go in at 4:00 A.M. every day to bake the pies. Cherry, apple, peanut butter, chocolate, and butterscotch were favorites. His pie crust was very flakey and tender. His “secret” was to use lard for shortening. Oh, and the meringue pies had real meringue; none of the cool whip or marshmallow cream stuff so prevalent today. While the pies were baking he’d start on the day’s daily lunch specials (a customer favorite was a hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy for 55¢). About this time his regulars (many of them construction contractors building in Morgan Manor) would arrive for breakfast. So now he’s baking pies, cooking for a noon crowd, cooking and serving breakfast, plus washing dishes (by hand) one man doing it all early in the morning.

As Chris and Naomi approached retirement, they sold the business, but retained ownership of the real estate. The new business owner discontinued the previous restaurant operation and obtained a license to serve alcohol. The Manor House was re-invented as a bar wildly popular with the young crowd especially college students. The building in which the Manor House was located was torn down to make way for the Newark freeway.

Two or three years later, the customer base had grown, so Chris enlarged the White Cottage for inside dining, discontinued curb service, but kept the soda fountain. The Manor House was born. The new name was derived from the fact the property was located in the Broadway Manor addition. Some years later Chris added two small rental units that were occupied by various small businesses. In addition to the counter service and main dining room, there was a private party room. It was a popular venue for service club meetings, holiday parties, and receptions.

The chicken sandwiches of The White Cottage drive-in days gave way to chicken and homemade noodles featured every Sunday and popular with the after church crowd. Chris had no pasta machine. He simply rolled out the dough with a rolling pin. Then he rolled up the dough jelly-roll fashion and sliced it into noodles. Just like a snowflake, no two noodles were exactly the same: some thicker; some thinner; some wider; some narrower, but all delicious!

A 6-year old girl is fascinated with car hop Joe Rine’s shiny silver coin changer - - cha-ching and out pops a quarter! 

Chris had no pasta machine...

Creamed Chicken
​Sandwiches.

(Manor House Style)

Around 1947, Chris and Naomi Evans purchased property on the southwest corner of West Church Street and Country Club Drive. They opened The White Cottage at this location. The White Cottage was