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Saturday, August 18, 2012

1933: THE LEGENDARY CASA LIDO

In its heyday, the Casa Lido was the "IN" spot for local visitors to downtown Trenton. The earliest material I can find on that old Italian restaurant begins in 1933. Hence, until someone more informed corrects me, I will assume that the year 1933 marked the opening of that famous restaurant with the equally famous art deco "CASA LIDO" sign. As we all know, Trenton went through social unrest and rioting in the 1960's and the Trenton I knew and loved began a downward plunge, due not only to the urban problems, but due also to the fact that the malls were popping up all over the area and parking was never a problem as it always has been in the city of Trenton. Going back to Colonial times roads and streets were narrowly laid out. There will always be those of us who love the city of Trenton, and there is currently an attempt to bring back that South Warren Street stretch into a viable stop over. In the 1970's, that beautiful art deco "CASA LIDO" sign was removed and the proprietors of "MAXINE'S" tastefully re-identified the establishment with their version of art deco. Unfortunately those early Maxine years were fraught with problems as anti gay bigots made life miserable for management. Today, Maxine's, Classics Used Books, http://www.classicsusedbooks.com, along with many other gutsy merchants, are valiantly attempting to keep the South Warren Street historical legacy alive. Now, if only some of those state workers would crowd the area for a lunch hour or so each day, they would have an enormous impact on the successful revival of a historic and fabulous stretch of historic Trenton. I wish them well and appreciate their zealous community efforts. The graphic includes a cut and paste of the Classic Book Store on South Warren Street.

This from the Classic Used Books website:

Warren Street

Classics Used and Rare Books on Warren Street has great neighbors. Visit them while you visit us!

  • The Big Easy–great food, across the street
  • Cafe Ole–gourmet coffee, casual, across the street
  • Checkers–best burger, casual, just up the street
  • Hummingbird–authentic Jamaican cuisine, casual, just up the street
  • The New Downtown Deli–generous portions, reasonable prices, casual. Right accross the street from Classics.
  • The Trenton Marriott–around the corner on Lafayette
  • Rainbowtown–Chinese food, casual, next door
  • Settimo Cielo–Northern Italian Cuisine, fine dining, just around the corner
  • State Barber Shop–the mayor of Warren Street, directly across the street
  • Subway–right up the street next to Messy Klossetts
  • Sunrise Luncheonette–traditional American fare, across the street towards State Street


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom, you have me longing for a Checkers Burger and make that a double order of potato salad please; always made fresh and with Hellmans too! As government workers we lunched a lot at Casa Lido in the 70's but even then it became an "alternate lifestyles" place after six or so. There was also a colorful place called Maxine's up on Bear Tavern Road. I believe in the 1950's it was called the Ewing Riding Club and was a "cheaters paradise" and a hula bar, dark as midnight with Tikis and low palm fronds all over.

Ed Millerick

rayfromvillapark said...

Hi Tom, I don't think that Casa Lido opened at this location in 1933, in this art deco building, including the deco sign. Scroll down, and check a photograph you published, titled; 1937, South Warren St from West State. It is the photo with the DeLuxe Diner in the foreground. Check out the sign on the fourth building from the diner. Casa Lido, Bar & Grill. It is on the next block south of the present location. When you blow up these photos, everything pops out at you. I really love the old Capitol Motors showroom. This is the location, before they built the art deco showroom, on South Broad St. I visited this location, when I was 9 years old, and picked up sales brochures. Either my father, or my uncle brought me there. A duplicate of the 1946 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible poster that hung on their wall, hangs in my office. rayfromvillapark

Tom Glover said...

Thanks for your observation, Ray. However I investigated the location and found the following: Capitol Chrysler-Plymouth was at 110 S. Warren in 1933 (earliest I could find) Wilson Harley Davidson was at 126.Look Closely at the Casa Lido sign in the 1937 photo. You will see the same basic building as occupied by today's Maxine's. I am still trying to find the actual date Casa opened. I understand it began as an Italian restaurant.

Tom Glover

Anonymous said...

Sounds great on Warren St. But there's no place to park...and when there IS parking, these places tend to be closed!

Anonymous said...

The Casa Lido did not change names to Maxine's until well into the 1980s or early 90s. It was a gay bar in the 70s and 80s and operated under the Casa Lido name.

Anonymous said...

The orginal casa lido is the tall narrow buidling to the left. in the 1950 parcels where purchased to the right and a new building was erected ie the art deco and pontani coat of arms above it. The building to the left became the store and the right was the bar and grill. Behind it was a bonded warehouse. This building like many others from an era when Trenton was prosperous.