Sunday, September 11, 2022

Oblio’s Lounge and a Taste of 1937

Here’s what was cooking in Oshkosh in 1937…

A menu from Angel’s Coffee Shop, circa 1937. Click the image to enlarge it.

Angel’s Coffee Shop was located in the south half of the building now occupied by Oblio's Lounge at 434-436 N. Main Street. The menu was found hidden behind a wall in that same part of the building earlier this year.

Angel’s was run by a Greek immigrant named Angel Litras. He came to Oshkosh in 1925 after marrying a southside woman named Eva Sweet. He opened his coffee shop in April of 1937.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, April 16, 1937.

Litras' restaurant inhabited the space that had previously been occupied by the Schlitz Beer Hall. Here's what that area looks like now...

The north side of the property had been home to a restaurant called the English Kitchen. The restaurant and the beer hall were connected by a doorway. The image below shows the view looking east into the English Kitchen in 1902. The door leading south into the Schlitz Beer Hall is seen on the right.

Here's a more recent view of that same space.

The bar in the photo above was built by Robert Brand and Sons of Oshkosh in1936. It was installed that fall when another Greek immigrant named John Kuchubas launched his tavern there. Kuchubas called his place John Brown's Bar.

John Kuchubas behind his bar.

John Kuchubas and Angel Litras worked in cahoots with one another. The aforementioned door was left open, allowing customers to pass freely between Kuchubas’ tavern and Litras’ restaurant. Here's a portion of an ad from 1939 that spells out what they were up to.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, April 15, 1939.

The bar thrived. The coffee shop didn't. Angel Litras closed his restaurant sometime around 1942. The space then sat vacant for a couple of years before it became an auto supply store. On the south side of Oblio's, you may have noticed the garage door leading out onto the patio. The garage door opened onto an alley behind the auto store.

The last, stand-alone business on the south side of the property was Rudy's Shoe Rebuilders. Rudy's opened in 1992.

After Rudy's closed in the summer of 2005, the door between the two spaces was opened again. In fact, it was taken out altogether. The two spaces have been joined ever since. The former home of the Schlitz Beer Hall is back in the beer business; incorporated into Oblio's Lounge. One of the most historically significant public spaces in Oshkosh has come full circle.

The return of Schlitz to the Schlitz Beer Hall. Co-owners of Oblio’s Todd Cummings, on the left, and Mark Schultz, second from the right wearing a hat.

The story of Oblio’s and the other saloons and taverns that have occupied this building is far deeper than what I’ve posted here. To begin exploring that history, Click Here and then Here.
For a photo tour and a general chronology, Click Here.
For a story from the 1920s when this place was raided for being a speakeasy, Click Here.

1 comment:

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