A Letter From a Tennessee Reader

It’s been a while since my last post and I’m hoping to show some new things soon. In the meantime I received this email the other day from Tom Malloy of Memphis, TN that I thought was worth sharing:
I grew up in Exton, Pa on Shoen road not far from the Cow. I remember Willie riding through my neighborhood., He would always say hello in his special way. I was always amazed that he remembered my name even when I was just a little kid. I don’t think I ever saw Willie without a gigantic smile on his face. I remember one time he let try to hold his bike up when I was little kid. It was too heavy for me with all of the horns and mud flaps and mirrors. I remember seeing him at the Farmers Market and I’d always see his parked in the Drive In.
My family would got to the Cow every Sunday after church. I think I ordered the same thing every week for 15 years or so. It was cube steak sandwich with fries and a black & white shake and it was awesome. I can still my brothers lips stained black by the blue moon ice or the licorice. It was a great place in a great time.
It was my brother Brian’s first job working at the cow.
Do you remember the place across the street where the big cow sign stood. It was called the Vittle House run by three brothers. They sold a sandwich called a beer sandwich that was incredible.  I could die for one of those beer sandwiches now.
Thank for the Memories. I live in Memphis, Tn now and it was a great trip down memory lane.
Thanks for the note Tom! Does anyone else out there remember the Vittle House and what beer sandwiches are made of?

30 thoughts on “A Letter From a Tennessee Reader”

  1. I do remember the Vittle House. Oddly, when I think about how long I lived near the joint, the only time I visited was when the Vittle House had closed and was selling its inventory. It was timely for me because I was moving into my first post-college apartment and was able to buy some glassware cheaply. 23 years later, two glasses still lurk in my cupboard. I can’t really prove their provenance so I’m guessing they’d be of little value to collectors.

    The Vittle House was a trendsetter in its day. At a time when beer choices were limited, I recall a sign boasting of 100 different imports, or something along those lines. Sadly, the restaurant shut down before it could cash in on the beer revolution that followed.

    Beer sandwich? A quick search on Google yielded little helpful information and a little amusement. Perhaps something was simmered in beer such as thin-sliced roast beef.

  2. I sure do remember the Vittle house, great sandwich’s, unbelievable selection of beers ,I used to drive there with my Dad and Uncles to get exotic beer and sandwich’s, when we had company, also remember , Dick Thomas and his foot long hot dogs which was further up the road heading to Downingtown, the area was just developed enough during the 1950’s when I grew up in Bradford Hills I have the greatest memories of that area and that era… I think it was the happiest time of my life really…. chuck calderone ,formerly of 13 overlook drive downingtown pa…

  3. I lived in Paoli during the early 60’s and the Vittle House was one of my favorites. Great stacked sandwiches , pickle, and imported beer – at a time when imported beers were a real treat. Things do pass – – – – –

  4. I don’t remember the Vittle house but I do remember Dick Thomas and his foot long hot dogs. My dad and mom would take us there as a treat when I was a little guy! Does anyone have any pictures of Dick Thomas restaurant?
    And I was looking for some pictures of the Exton drive-in!

  5. I certainly remember Dick Thomas’s restaurant as I ate there many times with my girlfriend who then became my wife and still is . The strange thing I remember is that there was a threaded rod stressed and trussed between the two outer walls to hold them together at the ceiling line. I did take engineering courses later in life and then realized what they were trying to do! The building was falling apart and they were trying to save it! Amazing what sticks in your mind that you remember. I was just a high school kid in 1965! I also remember the vittle house and the Guernsey cow and the Exton firehouse with the sockhops they had . Exton was really different then . No Malls! imagine that!

  6. I too would luv if there were pictures of Dick Thomas’s – I worked for Mr. Dick Thomas in the mid 70’s. And what a great guy he was. I wish then I would have taken pictures from when I worked there but I only have the memories. And remember the minature golf next to the resturant. And Exton Roller Rink and Exton Drive In many memories shame no pictures to share

  7. Oh yes what memories! – I grew up in Exton in the 1960’s and my dad used to take me into the Vittle House with him when he bought beer and Sid or Charlie used to give me a giant kosher pickle from the barrel by the door.

    I’d forgotton all about Willie from The Cow till I ran across this but he was always hanging out at the Farmers Market.

    I’ll bet Willie is long gone now!

    My Dad used to work at Foote Mineral right off Route 100 near the Exton Crossroads and we lived in Meadowbrook Manor – typical 60’s suburbia I guess you could say now.

    I eventually moved to California but I still have great memories of this place, a really historic area as I came to learn later in life.

    Mark W. Curran
    Los Angeles, CA

  8. The Vittle Ale House was the Holy Grail for teenage Beer Can Collectors in the 1970’s.Iron City,Peter Hand,Olympia,Lucky Lager and many more.I remember a sandwich called The Chester County Special that was so large it would not fit in your mouth.Also remember half and half bread, the bottle opener on the wall,frosted glasses,and the giant helpings of pretzels and potato chips.

  9. I grew up just north of Eagle in the ’60s. Before Exton Square my mother had to go to West Chester for real grocery store (she didn’t like what was in D-town) so I remember all in Exton very well but had forgotten about the Vittle Ale House. My father wasn’t one to take his kids to bars. We would go to Dick Thomas’ on Sundays now and then. I liked the varnished walls and booths. But sorry, no pictures either. Wish I did.

  10. I was one of those teenage beer can collectors. I lived in the neighborhood right behind the Vittle Ale house and I would constantly get kicked out of his dumpster as I was looking for different beer cans. However I acquired quite a collection of beer cans back then. I remember that we could see the movies playing at the Exton drive in from our bedroom window. As far as the Guernsey cow, it was really awesome. The mint chocolate chip ice cream was the best. I also enjoyed Dick Thomas’s foot long hot dogs. I saw Exton transform into what it is today. I really liked the old Exton. If anyone has any pictures of Exton from the 70’s, please post them.

  11. I remember Dick Thomas’s. I was maybe 7 when my folks took me & my sisters there. It was the early 60’s. I really miss those foot long hot dogs! The hand cut French fries were awesome. Anybody remember his vegetable soup? An unlikely combination, but oh so good!!! RIP Dick Thomas. You and your great restaurant are sorely missed.

  12. I do not remember his soup but I loved his relish! I worked for Dick Thomas right out of high school. I have no pictures ( wish I did) he was a joy to work for and he respected his staff. I remember him with that pipe he would smoke and how he catered to his customers that he truly respected!

  13. My mother worked at Dick Thomas and I was a kitchen helper in 1964. Her name was Kay and she worked for him for about 10 years, One evening there was a snow storm and we stayed at Dick’s home right up the the road from the resturant. He was a great guy

  14. when I worked at Dick’s there was a Faye or may of been Fern she was a cook as well – I worked at Dick’s ( waitress) in the mid-70’s – and yes Dick Thomas was an awesome and down to earth man

  15. I ran into her and her daughter about a yr ago and her daughter said her mom has pictures of Dick’s.

  16. I just talked with my sister. I was wrong, her name was Vern she cooked on the main grill. The other lady who cooked on the side grill was Margaret.

  17. I worked with Margaret and Vern ( and Vern’s daughter) may not have pictures but remember with my memories 🙂

  18. I have found three pictures One is Dick Thomas celebrating 45 years in business. 2nd is in memory of Richard Thomas. 3rd is a picture of my mother. let me know how i can send these to you , so maybe you can post them on this site. I am computor challenged on some aspects of doing things

  19. Winona did you get the pictures I sent? Also when you worked there did an older woman named Janet still work there, Her, Vern. Margret worked with my mom.

  20. 😦 have not could u resend but please put on the subject Dick Thomas so I know not to delete thanks! yes! I do remember Janet also a waitress name Libbi that worked there. I remember being down in the basement to get something and Dick was down there adjusting his leg! He told how it happened. remember he had that limp in his walk. And also Carol ( waitress) is Vern’s daughter.

  21. Gary said… “The strange thing I remember is that there was a threaded rod stressed and trussed between the two outer walls to hold them together at the ceiling line. ”

    There was a fire in Dick Thomas’, the place was virtually gutted. Those “trusses” were installed in lieu of pillars to support the second floor. This helped with usable sq. footage on the first. My neighbor, Warren Mitchell, made them. Another basket of fries for the table please!!!

    I sure too remember The Vittle House. My favorite sandwich was pastrami on rye! Lean, thinly sliced and piled HIGH!!! Once I “became of age”, of course :), never the same beer twice!!! It’s also where I fell in love with a REAL pickle !!!

  22. These comments really take me back! I grew up in Exton (Meadowbrook Manor) in the 1960s and early ’70s. We moved away when the mall was under construction (but after the cinema was completed – I remember walking there on Saturdays to catch a matinee).

    Dick Thomas was the first place I tasted Dr Pepper. I was instantly hooked!

    Does anyone remember Gilley’s? It was further up Route 30 (toward Frazer), near the roller rink — not too far from the farmer’s market that became a Wawa. Best burgers in Exton!

  23. I sure remember all these places, Tom, as I grew up in Meadowbrook Manor. Spent many a night at Skateland Roller Rink, right next to Gilleys. Gilley made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. My mother used to take me to Dick Thomas’s and there was also the Brickette, up going North on Rt. 100. The Exton Cinema is still there I believe. I moved away in 1987 but have visited a few times.

  24. I remember Gilley’s , those burger were the best . Serve on a sort of oblong sunbeam roll. Great penny candy counter too! It was in between Mario the barbers and Clapp’s Exton sporting goods.

  25. I remember Gilleys I was Tastykake Fiend I remember the kakes were 8 cents and the pies were 12 cents! And Grew Up in Meadowbrook Manor—

  26. On a recent post @ nextdoor.com, the subject of old Exton Drive-in came up, and a link to the Hooters video that was filmed there. Search it on youtube. The Hooters – And We Danced.

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