Twelve Days of Shopping Fairview – Day 12

day-12On the twelfth “shop Fairview” day… Christmas shopping is a classic pastime, but it’s time to wind things down. What better way to do that than with a burger and beer at another classic – Fairview’s iconic historic-and-newly-refurbished neighborhood tavern: Gunselman’s. Even the name sounds like it’s been around for a while. New owners Joe McDonough, David Grace, and John Caine are having a great time collecting the stories of this favored “Public House” of Fairview from the past almost 80 years. Recent renovations are aimed at keeping it a favorite for the next 80 – a new brick patio, refurbished original barstools, updated air conditioning and new bathrooms. They even added a brand-new kitchen, reopened for the first time since 1959 serving classics and comfort food, inspired by American big family home cooking. They are going to start brewing their own beer in the next year or two, once the permits, approvals and hops are under control!

History is in the story telling, and Gunselman’s website has a player-piano roll of stories started, adding to it as the anecdotes roll in. Henry J. Gunselman took over The Pastime Cafe on Friday, December 11, 1936. The Gunselman family moved into the upstairs apartment in the late 30’s, where Henry’s wife Meta did the cooking. Henry owned the bar from 1936 until he sold it to local Fairview hotel owner Louie Miller in 1959. During its time, this quintessential neighborhood bar was a meeting place for all broadcasted sporting events first on the radio then on the first public TV this side of the Rocky River. Weekend nights saw everything from a neighborhood fish fry to live jazz set up in the banquet room, everything they sold could also be “take out”. According to the stories, Gunselman was one tough cookie. Read up on his exploits on the Gunselman’s history page on their website.

While you’re at it, check out the appetizing menu from their new kitchen, open 4-10pm daily – locally sourced beef cooked into big juicy burgers in a cast iron skillet, a nightly dinner special like stuffed cabbage or chicken paprikash with fresh spaetzles, and classic Fish Fry Friday. Just like home with no dishes to do!

Joe McDonough, one of the new owners at Gunselman’s, tells us they are layering in entertainment, like another local favorite Austin Walkin’ Cane who has signed a “lifetime contract” to play his original & classic delta blues featuring slide guitar and soulful vocals one Thursday night a month. Joe is a 1986 graduate of Fairview High School and has worked in the hospitality industry for local and national chains and then spent the last 20 years working in the motorsports industry. John Caine is also a FHS grad (1987) and a Brook Park firefighter. David Grace is yet another FHS grad (1985) who has been in the food service industry since he started at Santo’s washing dishes, going on to becoming the GM of Hard Rock Cafes’ in Cleveland, Biloxi, and Las Vegas. In case you hadn’t figured it out, they’ve all been friends since high school.

So as you hang the stockings by the chimney with care and the children nestle all snug in their beds, stop in to Gunselman’s for a little refreshment before you and mamma settle down for that winter’s nap. Friends and neighbors alike will be wishing “a Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.”