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Richelieu Grill .. was it good food?


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#1 lobster

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 11:16 PM

I hit the library over the weekend to research yet another FW artifact I was listing on Ebay (Richelieu breakfast & regular menus @ http://cgi.ebay.com/...item=3955773079 .. not just a shameless plug, but check the menu pics .. ham hocks?! :) ) and read that their chili recipe was supposed to be legendary around town the recipe (er.. specifics of the three "Phillipine spices") of which is allegedly still secret to this day.. By the time I was old enough to explore and immerse myself into the ways of downtown (1992+), I apparently missed the Richelieu by about a year or so.

I've heard from other downtown oldschool folks that the Richelieu was a 24 hour place at one point back in downtown's spookydirty days of the early 1980s. What I'm wondering from those that may remember eating there is, looking at the menu selection, was it actually good food? Or was it more of a downtown version of the Ol' South? And was it really 24 hours? And finally -- where exactly was it? I do remember walking by the ruins of it before it was demolished but my geography wasn't as sharp at the time and I want to say it was somewhere near where the Bass Hall stands... (the menu says 415 Main, so I guess it was really about where the Flying Saucer parking lot is?)

L :wink: bs

#2 tarzan1946

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 12:05 AM

The Richelieu was originally at 1516 Main St. before the convention center was built.
We used to go to the one at 415 Main Street. in the early 80's. They had good food. It was a pretty clean place for that time and atmosphere downtown then. Mr Fletcher was the owner, I don't remember his first name but his son was a Fort Worth policeman that got killed on duty back in 1977. I never had any of their world famous chili but I remember there was a sign for it on the front window. It was on the E side of Main St. just about where you say, there was another business S of it before 4th St. At that time it closed at about 9PM.
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#3 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 08:35 PM

I've heard from other downtown oldschool folks that the Richelieu was a 24 hour place at one point back in downtown's spookydirty days of the early 1980s.  What I'm wondering from those that may remember eating there is, looking at the menu selection, was it actually good food?  Or was it more of a downtown version of the Ol' South? And was it really 24 hours?  And finally -- where exactly was it?  I do remember walking by the ruins of it before it was demolished but my geography wasn't as sharp at the time and I want to say it was somewhere near where the Bass Hall stands... (the menu says 415 Main, so I guess it was really about where the Flying Saucer parking lot is?)

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I thought the spookydirty days of downtown was in the 1970's! By 1981, the place was actually starting to rise from the ashes, so to speak. I realize many of you think that it was bad during the 80's, but it was actually much worse in the decade before that. In the 1960's it still had some of the life that it had from the 1940's and 1950's, but even then, it was waning.

I remember the Richelieu Grill very well. Their chili was excellent. The building that the Richelieu was located stood on the northeast corner of 4th and Main. The Land Title Block (Flying Saucer) was directly across the alley from it. Tarzan, the other business that you were referring was actually to the north. I remember the ceramic tile entrance stated that it was the Brantley Draughon College. It was located in the same building. You can also tell that it was the last address on the block because the lots are 25 feet wide with eight lots on each side of the street. The east side of Main has odd numbered addresses. 415 Main would be the last lot on the block starting from 3rd Street. The building was 50 feet wide; therefore, the ground floor tenants in the building would have two addresses. The building was built sometime before 1900. However, its decorative cornice and other details had either been removed or covered up. The building was brick, but it had stucco covering it, so you really couldn't tell what it originally looked like. The windows on the second floor were arched. The west side had a bricked in storfront on the ground floor and on the east side, it was solid stucco. I remember watching the demolition and I found that the original storefront on 4th Street had been infilled with concrete block. Inside the block infill were the original cast iron columns. It probably was a building that matched the remainder in Sundance Square, but there also haven't been any good photographs of it in its earlier years.

I remember that you could always go to the Richelieu for a good home cooked meal, similar to what the Paris Coffee Shop serves today. I do remember that it was open late, but I don't remember how late.

#4 Dismuke

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 09:07 PM

I remember the ceramic tile entrance stated that it was the Brantley Draughon College.  It was located in the same building.

It took me a moment but I remember where I have heard the name of that college before. Norris Chambers wrote about attending that school back in the 1930s. You can read the specific article in which he mentions the school and its location and his adventures in trying to find a place to board at: http://www.norrisc.com/fwtale.html The article gives a feel for what certain sections of downtown Fort Worth were like during the Depression.

Chambers wrote a bunch of interesting and enjoyable articles recalling what things were like in Texas and Fort Worth when he was growing up. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram used to have a website called VirtualTexan.com which featured his articles and similar articles by other writers. For whatever reason, the Star-Telegram decided to discontinue the website (I can understand them not wanting to update it - but with as inexpensive as web storage space is, I think it is sad that they simply did not archive it so that the information it had would still be available.). Happily, he now has his own website and his articles, at least, can once again be enjoyed: http://www.norrisc.com
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#5 tarzan1946

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 12:03 AM

My 1949 city directory says that the Brantley-Draughan Business College was at 411 1/2 Main Street. I agree that it was much seedier in the 1970's with the Porno houses and strip joints.I don't know when they started closing early but I worked evenings downtown in 1983 and it was closed in the late evenings.

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#6 lobster

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 01:40 AM

Dismuke, that guy is awesome! What a neat story... who is he?
in his fw tale, though, he speaks of another experience working at an fw restaurant and says "i told you about that in a previous tale".. do you know which one that is?

L :D b

#7 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 06:55 AM

Yes, from what I remember that entrance to Brantey Draughon led to a stairway. Some other information also stated that the business school was in the second floor of two interconnecting buildings. 1/2 addresses were used for second story businesses. I also remember an archway that was cut into the north wall at the second floor of the Richelieu Building that was bricked up. 413 Main was then the storefront on the north half of the building and 415 was the south half. I remember that the restaurant took up the entire ground floor.

Speaking of the porno houses. I can remember when most of the businesses in the current Sundance Square buildings were X-rated movie theaters and peep shows, pawn shops, and strip joints. This was in the mid to late 1970's.

#8 lobster

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 10:14 AM

correct me if i'm wrong but even before THAT, there were supposedly a considerable number of bordellos dotted around the area, although the Tarrant County Resources Survey books don't mention this aspect of any of the buildings' history :D

Alas over the years, I've heard rumors of the Land Title/Flying Saucer bldg and Barber's Bookstore bldgs both being little red-light houses... not sure how to authenticate any of those rumors though.. I'm guessing those were long gone by the time any of the veterans on here started hanging downtown, aye?

L ;) bs

#9 Dismuke

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 10:19 AM

Dismuke, that guy is awesome!  What a neat story...  who is he?
in his fw tale, though, he speaks of another experience working at an fw restaurant and says "i told you about that in a previous tale".. do you know which one that is?

L :D b

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His stories are great. I am not sure who he is other than some guy who lives in the area who has seen a lot of interesting things in his life and has the capacity to appreciate and enjoy them. As to which previous tale that was, I don't remember. But you can find an index of all of his tales at: http://www.norrisc.com/ All of them are worth reading.
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#10 gdvanc

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 05:07 PM

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram used to have a website called VirtualTexan.com which featured his articles and similar articles by other writers.  For whatever reason, the Star-Telegram decided to discontinue the website (I can understand them not wanting to update it - but with as inexpensive as web storage space is, I think it is sad that they simply did not archive it so that the information it had would still be available.). 

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Dis - you can still get some of the virtualtexan.com content from the Wayback Machine.

#11 Dismuke

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 12:56 AM

Dis - you can still get some of the virtualtexan.com content from the Wayback Machine.


I never though of that. Thanks for mentioning it. This time I will download what is there to my hard drive so I don't lose it again.

A couple or so years ago, after the Star-Telegram took Virtual Texan down, someone, I never figured out who, put up a mirror of it. The website that mirrored it did not even have a domain name in the URL - it was merely an IP address prefaced with http:// I ran across it one time while doing a google search for something. Anyhow, in one of my website's weekly Hit of the Week updates, I featured a vintage postcard of the old Westbrook Hotel and decided to link to a story on the mirror site about the famous dance team of Irene and Vernon Castle who were staying at the hotel when Vernon Castle was killed in a Royal Airforce training acccident in Benbrook.

Unfortunately, I only discovered after I had put up the link that the blank boxes with invalid image indicators where the Star-Telegram's banner ads used to be contained active hyperlinks to other portions of the mirrored site which featured some rather eye-opening pornographic images. Apparently the operator so some porn site also has an interest in Texas history.

Every so often I get emails from school kids who mention that they visited my site as part of a homework assignment. So if any such kids followed the links, they might have ended up really getting an education in ways other than what the teacher intended! That mirrored site has been down for quite a while now.
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#12 pmburk

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 03:02 PM

Unfortunately, I only discovered after I had put up the link that the blank boxes with invalid image indicators where the Star-Telegram's banner ads used to be contained active hyperlinks to other portions of the mirrored site which featured some rather eye-opening pornographic images.  Apparently the operator so some porn site also has an interest in Texas history. 

Every so often I get emails from school kids who mention that they visited my site as part of a homework assignment. So if any such kids followed the links, they might have ended up really getting an education in ways other than what the teacher intended! 


:(

#13 detail larry

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE (lobster @ Jan 31 2005, 12:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I hit the library over the weekend to research yet another FW artifact I was listing on Ebay (Richelieu breakfast & regular menus @ http://cgi.ebay.com/...item=3955773079 .. not just a shameless plug, but check the menu pics .. ham hocks?! smile.gif ) and read that their chili recipe was supposed to be legendary around town the recipe (er.. specifics of the three "Phillipine spices") of which is allegedly still secret to this day.. By the time I was old enough to explore and immerse myself into the ways of downtown (1992+), I apparently missed the Richelieu by about a year or so.

I've heard from other downtown oldschool folks that the Richelieu was a 24 hour place at one point back in downtown's spookydirty days of the early 1980s. What I'm wondering from those that may remember eating there is, looking at the menu selection, was it actually good food? Or was it more of a downtown version of the Ol' South? And was it really 24 hours? And finally -- where exactly was it? I do remember walking by the ruins of it before it was demolished but my geography wasn't as sharp at the time and I want to say it was somewhere near where the Bass Hall stands... (the menu says 415 Main, so I guess it was really about where the Flying Saucer parking lot is?)

L tongue.gif bs

j c fletcher was a friend of mine , he was a car dealer on e. lancaster ave , i did detail work for him, he was a great guy.he carried a big long wallet that stuck out of his back pocket . he would pay me for his detail work , upstairs above the richelieu. they had great chili, but there stew was better. i will buy that menu , contact me.




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