City Quotient: Remember Tommy Henrich's Steak House?
My favorite restaurant in the '60s was Tommy Henrich's Steak House. It had a cool atmosphere, great food and live entertainment. I believe Tommy was a baseball player. Do you have any history on this? -Pat Lewis
Ever wonder why the Catholic Foundation's building at 257 E. Broad St. has a curved wall? That's because in a past life, around the 1940s or so, it was an auto dealership; the curve was a window where the latest models went 'round and 'round on a turntable. In 1969, this building became the home of the first Wendy's. But in between, it had another use: Tommy Henrich's Steak House. Tommy was a baseball player who spent his whole career, from 1937 to 1950 (except the war years), with the Yankees. He played right field, was nicknamed "The Clutch" and "Old Reliable" for his hitting and is credited with the first walk-off home run in World Series history in Game 1 of the 1949 series. Born in Massillon, Tommy died in 2009 a few months shy of his 97th birthday.
The restaurant concept was conceived by Henrich's friend and business partner, Alex Clowson, himself a ball player. Clowson played second base for three years at Ohio State in the 1930s and retired as an assistant coach in 1961. He and Tommy were pictured on the restaurant menu cover. Though Henrich's ran for only a few years in the mid-'60s, it has its place among Columbus' legendary dining options, including the Kahiki Supper Club, the Jai Lai and Wendy's, and people still remember it as a fine-dining restaurant, supper club and night club that could seat more than 400 carnivores.
Jeff Darbee is a preservationist, historian and author in Columbus. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the answer might appear in a future column.