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Friday, September 26, 2008

When Our Favorite Restaurants Leave Us

Article by Eric H., at VisitingNewEngland.com

The other day while driving to the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) fair in West Springfield, MA, I noticed one of our favorite restaurants was closed. I later learned that the Ivanhoe had shut its doors permanently at this location in July of 2007, mainly because of losing a significant amount of parking space to an expanding furniture store.

When driving back to suburban Boston from our frequent Cooperstown, N.Y., vacations, the Ivanhoe served as a welcoming dining friend for supper. While we were always sad to leave Cooperstown, the Ivanhoe could stand on its own as a revered last vacation meal with really great food, superb service, and a comfortable atmosphere. It didn't matter that the "Anytown USA" strip mall look of West Springfield couldn't hold a candle to pristine Cooperstown; the Ivanhoe became a wonderful tradition that became part of the fabric of our overall Cooperstown vacation.

In the past few years, we weren't able to get to the Ivanhoe because we departed Cooperstown later and later on each visit (it's that special of a place!). So, we started going to the Metro 20 Diner in Albany, NY, a few hours after our 3 or 4 p.m departure from Cooperstown. While the Metro 20 is one of the better diners we've been to, we can't help but feel sad about not having gone to the Ivanhoe a few more times. It was just one of those places that resonated warm thoughts. Maybe it was the homemade bread, excellent clam chowder, tasty seafood casserole, the long salad bar with an unending supply of anchovies(!), the longtime waitresses with an innate kindness and professionalism, the bi-level dining area with pleasant lighting or the powerful restroom hand dryers that almost blew us back to Cooperstown, but whatever the reason, the Ivanhoe will be sorely missed.

The Ivanhoe had deep routes in West Springfield, opening in 1967, and being the last of the Abdow family restaurants that included the Abdow Big Boy chain and the former P.J. Scott in Chicopee.

The Ivanhoe might not have been the best restaurant we have been to, but somehow it made us feel our best. You never forget restaurants like that.
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