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Sign of the Times - HUDDLE Restaurant Lima Ohio Neon Sign SOLD - Building Torn Down

The Huddle Fine Food Coffee Shop Restaurant
Lima, Ohio

After 62 years in business, the restaurant closed in 2007.

David McClain was the founder of the Huddle Restaurant and was owner and operator until 1980, when he sold it to his daughter Kay and her former husband, Jim. (Info as per David McClain's obituary.) The iconic Lima landmark closed for good in 2007 after more than 62 years in business. Then owner Jim Wende, who operated the business for 27 years, tried unsuccessfully to sell or rent the building.

Below, you can see that someone bought the cool vintage neon sign off the old HUDDLE Restaurant (on Metcalf, in Lima, Ohio). 

Here's the truck parked by the building. They were getting ready to take the sign down. Too bad it was a cold day, or I'd have hung around to get some action shots.

Apparently the property was transferred back to the bank on May 9, 2010:  Huddle Restaurant and Sheriff Samuel A. Crish to Citizens National Bank of Bluffton, 134 N. Metcalf St., $50,000.

Here it is without the sign...

I confess I never dined there, but I have always enjoyed the sign, and I have a couple of neat old restaurant-ware dinner plates in my Lima memorabilia collection.

According to this photo from Bill Stauffer, Lima Senior Class of 1957, The Huddle was a neat-o drive-in/diner:

See Photo source for pix of other cool Lima Ohio drive in restaurants.

Here's a couple vintage matchbook covers:

According to the above matchbook, there was a member of the Huddle restaurant chain in Lima, called The Paddle, on Northern Ave [Northland Plaza]. 

Oddly, the Lima 'Huddle' location is not listed. 

Compare the above building photos, and the different design of the 2 matchbooks, and you can see that the Lima Huddle's faux-Colonial architecture did not share the same mid-century-modern/space age/googie style design aesthetic of the rest of the Huddle buildings, like the ones in Los Angeles, California. (Read more about the western Huddle restaurant chain here.)

However, I found a comment on a site discussing old Lima businesses, that says: "[in] Northland [Plaza], near West Street, was the “Paddle” Restaurant. A great example of “googie” architecture of the era." 

Here's a 1974 Help wanted page with ads for both The Huddle and The Paddle restaurants.

Here are my plates:

UPDATE -- here are some more pix of the HUDDLE Restaurant building -- torn down, in rubble... - pix taken on 11-29-2010

Here's an article from the Lima News about what happened to the sign:

Sign Sealed, Delivered

Huddle sign rescued from demolition

October 06, 2010 / Bart Mills

LIMA — The sign stood over Metcalf Street for at least a half century, a blend of neon and oversized iridescent bulbs promising fine food to generations of passers-by.

As one of those passers, Jim Gideon couldn’t bear to see the old Huddle sign lost to history. So when he heard the former restaurant was on the verge of being torn down, he did what any other slightly obsessive man with access to cash and a boom crane would do. He went and got it.

“We understand they’re going to knock the building down so we called around, found out who we needed to pay for it, and spent Sunday taking it down. We have no particular end in mind except to preserve it,” Gideon said.

The Huddle closed its doors in 2007 after more than 62 years in business. The sign itself has been up since at least the 1950s.

The building was sold last month for $78,000 to Shree Lakshmi LLC, which, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, is owned by Rajendra Patel, who also owns a Knight’s Inn motel in Bluffton. Patel was unavailable for comment on his plans for the property.

Gideon said he was told the new owners planned to tear the building down. He contacted the real estate agent selling the property and made an offer on the sign. He and his son, Brendon Gideon, pulled Brendon’s in-laws, Rob and Dave Frost, into their scheme. Gideon owns Lima Equipment Co. and the Frosts own Fidelity Builders. Between them, they had the equipment and know-how to remove the sign.

Even with the right equipment, the job was no easy one. It took the four men about three hours to move the 10-foot-by-10-foot sign.

“I’d estimate it weighs close to 1,000 pounds. It was no trivial undertaking,” Gideon said.

The crew moved the sign into a warehouse for storage. What they’ll do with it next is still up in the air.

“For now, it’s in the warehouse. We just wanted to make sure it was preserved. We haven’t decided what to do with it beyond that,” Gideon said.


Currently the lot is scraped flat. But it will be a long time before whatever goes up will evoke the nostalgia that the Huddle does.

Update: they put up a Subway sandwich restaurant in the former Huddle space.


Note: These items are part of my ''Collecting Lima Virtual Museum''. They are not for sale.

If/when I find more information on these items, I will add it to the post.

Read the Introduction to Collecting Lima Virtual Museum Project ~ My Lima Ohio Bottles, Advertising, Antiques

Ms. Dow Antiques Blog 'Tique Talk is published by msdowantiques.com

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