McGarvey’s Boat Drive Inn – A Little Matchbook Does It’s Job

I want to go!

This morning on my usual ebay par-oozing, I came across one more of my little secret little obsessions – matchbook art. Matchbook art is so simple, functional and here we are almost 100 years after the place was built, talking about them. Who says advertising doesn’t work. As Marshall Mcluhan said, “Advertising Is The Cave Art Of The 20th Century”.

This is pure marketing genus!

They needed more young people as well

Cocktails on Sundays! Remember Blue laws? This little caption would date these post and near 1962 when the Blue laws in Ohio where overturned.

Cap’n Eddy!

An earlier example of their Matchbook art. Ahh back in the good old cough cough days of no smoking sections! We all lived in a huge ash tray.

Inside of McGarvey’s Oh man I can smell those Beef Tallow french fries. THE WAY GOD INTENDED THEM TO BE MADE!

Menus cover, oh the joy of sitting down and gazing on this magic paper full of gluttony

OH!!!!!! I want me one of those Mister 5×5’s

So I got interested in McGarvey’s and did some interneting. And guess what. Ya.. Its gone, been turned into a Landing by the town of Vermillion. UGH! But at least the town saved some of its history. Kudo’s to that. Now back to some PIE for desert.

Thanks for coming by.

You can see some history of McGarvys HERE

You can buy the Matchbook on ebay HERE

And you can read about Beef Tallow French Fries HERE



20 replies
  1. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Matt, it was the best! Sauerkraut balls. The first salad bar I ever saw SHAPED LIKE A BOAT! A BOAT MATT! Lyman’s and Chris crafts going up and down the river while you ate …l and the owner Edie Solomon saying “hell-low” to every guest at their table and checking if everything was okay. He had a lot of dirty jokes too.

    Twice baked potatoes and hamburger patty with mushroom gravy….
    It was awesome, over the top fun. The bar was like a ship with rigging out of a pirate movie and I think Halloween was all costumed up. One night my dad and uncle saved a guy who fell off his boat and hit his head at the dock during happy hour. Uncle Dave jumped in the river and my dad pulled him out. Eddie’s bought dinner for us that night. Great memories.

    • George Burgess
      George Burgess says:

      Another salad bar shaped like a boat was the Algonac “Henry’s Schooner Salad Bar” from the 1970’s. Now I understand the Algonac Harbor Club restaurant “Port O Call” has the “Henry’s Schooner Salad Bar”

  2. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    Looking at the menu pricing, all I can say is, inflation anyone?
    Is that on the ala carte menu?
    On another note, Matt you should poll all of us WB’s around the universe and see if we can list any restaurants like this one still in operation. Since we all ramble around the country, wouldn’t it be great to know where you could stop for some chicken-fried steak and deep fried Oreos and Ice Cream?
    WAY better list to have than a AAA Trip-Tik or some stupid GPS whining at you.
    Just sayin’………😜

    • matt
      matt says:

      We had all those on the app. The app that basecly broke down too many times and was parked in the barn. It was running when I put it in there. It would even map you to the place

  3. Michael Hill
    Michael Hill says:

    Friday night was the seafood buffet and Saturday night was the prime rib buffet. Lines went out the door and out to the river. Eddie had his bartenders on commission, and they all drove Cadillacs. If you were drinking enough, Eddie would feed you for free. I could go on and tell a lot of great stories but I don’t remember most of them. Too bad the sea wall gave up and the place nearly fell into the river!!

  4. Jeff Hamilton
    Jeff Hamilton says:

    Like Cliff, I remember McGarvey’s. My Grandparents took me there and I took my kids there – where we drank Shirley Temples. The adjacent Vermilion Lagoons was full of cabin cruisers, a beautiful area in the summer and just a few miles from Sandusky and Lyman Boatworks.

  5. Gene McNichols
    Gene McNichols says:

    Our family ate there from time to time on our way back from Cedar Point to the Cleveland area in the 60’s. Great place and the homes along the river were picture book! Each one more inviting. We kept our Chris Craft at Cedar Point. With the Theme Park there, it was a dream place for the Marina Kids, so they called us. Fine memories!

  6. Richard Daley
    Richard Daley says:

    So up in Canada on Paul Harrison’s lake located in the narrows of Shuswap Lake. Near Sicamous British Columbia is a boat to only floating full service restaurant called the Shark Shack. The only way to access it is by boat. They have docks fuel souvinear store bar and restaurant. Opens around the end of June till sept.
    Very unique Boating adventure.

  7. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    Fox Lake, Illinois… Blarney Island is only accessible by boat. Or helicopter. Major party destination.

  8. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Great memories generated by this one Matt.
    I can only nominate the ole Sea Breeze on Gwynn’s Island Va.
    No credit cards and a big family table where Ralph held court.
    Cool places every one.
    John in Va. Just back from Going Boating!

  9. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    We lived on the Fox River & chain o’ lakes in northern IL, from 2005-2011. There were many options for waterfront, boat-to dining.

    One was a bar called Blarney Island out in Grass Lake, accessible only by water. They ran a pontoon shuttle, for the boatless. Never went in the bar, but did boat out there a couple times, to watch the Thursday night “run what you brung” boat drag races. I remember the crane-boat operator, who sat our lift over the seawall each spring & fall, talking about going out on Friday mornings, to retrieve sunken boats! From web search, looks like it’s still partying.

    Another was a good seafood place further down river, called the Port Edward. They had docking, but we went by land, as there was a lock with limited hours, between home & the restaurant. The lobby contained this “indoor harbor”, wherein floated a 25 foot sailboat! The 1934 John Deering designed woodie, held a table for 4. We never ate aboard, as reservations had to be made months in advance. Web shows it still going as well.

  10. Floydrturbo
    Floydrturbo says:

    The directions from the matchbook cover are kind of confusing at Route 2 and Route 6. They don’t cross in Vermillion. They cross at Huron which is closer to Sandusky. They run parallel across the Vermillion River. Sounds like it would be big cruiser territory with access to Lake Erie.

  11. Michael Hill
    Michael Hill says:

    Floyd-You are correct, except when the matchbook directions were printed (circa 1962) the freeway you are referring to didn’t exist. What is now called “Liberty Ave” in Vermilion was “Rte 2&6” back then

    CLIF AMES says:

    I’ll bet you found that match book on Sweet Pea. Angus is from Vermillion. And that is where I kept Ma’m’selle from 1995 to 2000.

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