What was your favorite lunch spot when you were at CNC in the sixties and/or early seventies? Did you bring sandwiches from home and eat on the campus lawn, or in an empty classroom, or maybe even in one of the ladies restrooms that had a cot? (Did guys ever eat lunch in a men’s restroom?) Did you eat alone, or with friends? Did you sometimes walk or drive to a nearby eatery for lunch? Did you eat on campus in the student center in Gosnold Hall—sometimes called "Takis’s Ptomaine Tavern"?
Below are some ads from CNC Tridents from 1964 through 1972. How many of these restaurants do you remember? What was your favorite meal at them? Did you have a memorable experience in one of these places?
Located in Hidenwood Shopping Center, this pharmacy once had a lunch counter that was a popular midday eatery. The business is still there and still family-owned, but the lunch counter is but a memory. Ad in the 1965 TRIDENT, p. 94.
My favorite lunchtime meal at the Vic Zodda’s on Warwick Blvd. was the Silver Dollar Pancakes with sausage links. I told myself that the walk from my Newport Hall office to Vic Zodda’s and back would burn off most of the syrup. Ad in the 1966 TRIDENT, p. 101.
Another easy walk from the campus was to the Warwick Restaurant--still in business, although owners, managers, and staff keep changing. Candidates for teaching positions at CNC were often housed at the Warwick Motel and interviewed over meals at the restaurant. Ad in the 1971 TRIDENT, p. 137.
I think the original McDonald’s on Warwick was in what used to be a Dairy Queen, but I could be wrong. It was a short drive from campus to get one of those 15-cent hamburgers or (my preference) 20-cent cheeseburgers. Ad in the 1969 TRIDENT, p. 113.
There was also, later, a Shoney’s in the Hilton area, attached to the Nachman’s store. I remember customers could walk back and forth between the two. The soup and salad bar was famous as well as the Big Boy. Ad in the 1964 TRIDENT, unnumbered page.
This was a dine-in-your-car place, with good chili hot dogs as well as soft ice cream cones. Ad in the 1966 TRIDENT, p. 101.
Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Takis joined the CNC family around 1966—as did their children. Their daughter, Betty, was a CNC student for two years (1965-67), and their son, Sofos, attended from 1969–74, holding part-time jobs (including working for his parents) while earning a BS degree in government. Today Sofos lives in Newport News and works for the City of Newport News, in the Office of the Treasurer. After her two years at CNC, Betty married, then attended Old Dominion, where she earned a degree in math. She taught high school math for 25 years. She and her husband, William Haney, now retired from Civil Service, have two sons and three grandchildren. They reside in Southerland, VA.
Dr. Harold Cones, in his essay “Biology Department: The Ties That Bind,” calls Mr. Takis “One of the great unsung heroes of the early days of CNC” and writes of him and his wife: “The Takis family gave much to the CNC campus, not the least of which were time, money, and atmosphere. More than once a destitute student found a free warm cheeseburger on his plate as a gift from the Takis team” (Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, p. 224). If you haven’t read Harold’s affectionate description of Mr. and Mrs. Takis and his delightful story of how the Takis family helped him and the entire CNC Biology Department wait out the birth of his first daughter, you’ve missed something!
Mr. & Mrs. Takis are shown working in their little eatery in Gosnold Hall. Their son Sofos often worked with them while also a CNC student. Ad in the 1972 TRIDENT, p. 127.
These last three restaurants—in, respectively, Newport News, Hampton, and Yorktown—were favorites among First Decaders not so much for lunchtime dining as for special occasions—birthdays, graduations, romantic dates, and so forth. How many of these do you remember?
We welcome your FEEDBACK on this article.
The Ranch House was a favorite steak house in Newport News for evening and weekend dining. Ad in the 1971 TRIDENT, p. 140.
The Oasis, in Hampton, like many of the restaurants shown in this article, no longer exists. Ad in the 1964 TRIDENT, unnumbered page.
The owners of this famous seafood restaurant in Yorktown were very devoted to CNC. Among other things, they always provided floral arrangements at each graduation.
Published May 17, 2013
From Jay Dunn (64 FD): Some of the eating establishments I remember from my Daniel School days (1962-64) were the great Greek-family places along Washington Avenue :The National, Capitol, Sanitary, NY Delicatessen. Then there was the Greyhound bus station on West Avenue for late night and a great hot dog standacross 32nd street (or maybe 31st) from the Daniel parking lot, which I continued to visit on my lunch hour from summer employment at the Shipyard. There was also a great burger place next to the Warwick or James Theater, but I can’t recall the name of it, maybe the “better burger” (and it was). Of course, there was always the student lounge in the Daniel basement.
From Jim Eyre (64 FD): Your article on the most frequented restaurants was very inclusive and brought back many good memories. Nevertheless, in the first 2 years of CNU, I think the most used restaurant, by far, was the hot dog “ joint “ right across the streetfrom the old school. You got 2 “dogs “ for $ 0.25 and they always came one way. They sold a couple hundred dogs each school day during lunch time. I do not remember the name, but I am sure some of the other alumni will remember. No list of CNC eateries would be nearly complete, without the hot dog place. Somebody must have a picture of it somewhere.
And from our Chairman, Dave Spriggs (64 FD): I have some knowledge of the hot dog places on 31st St, as they were a lunchtime favorite for NNHS students as well. Look here: