In 1932, a miniature-golf course with cinder fairways inhabited the northeast corner of Grandview Avenue at Fifth Avenue.
Stew Harrison bought the course and built the 12-by-12-foot Hamburger Construction Company restaurant there, noting in a 1981 interview, “I figured that since I got hungry in the middle of the night, so did others.” With his two-burner hot plate, he began making 4-inch hamburgers, which he sold for 10 cents.
Over the next 24 years, he expanded the small building four times and renamed the business Stew Harrison’s Restaurant. In 1956, he tore down all but three rooms and created a dining room (pictured), and by 1981 had 25 employees serving more than 400 meals a day. The restaurant closed in 1984.
The site since has been the location of a series of restaurants, including Sister’s Chicken and Biscuits (started in 1979 by Wendy’s), Spaghetti Shoppe, Hoggy’s and the Winking Lizard. Cleveland-based build-your-own-taco joint Barrio soon will take over the Winking Lizard space.
The inset photo shows graffiti-carved planks from the early days of Stew’s. The planks contain initials, college names, devotions to sweethearts and other messages. The historical society has several of these planks in its archives.