History, mid-century

Mendel Cader

Mendel Cader was Sam Ganos’ step-son. Lillian Cader, Mendel’s mother, married Sam in the 1930s. Mendel married in 1944.

Sam Ganos emigrated from Greece in 1907. Making his way from New York to Sonoma Valley, he opened Sam’s Grill in 1916, in the building that still stands on the Highway, opposite Central Ave. It now houses La Hacienda Taqueria (2016.) This means there has been a restaurant in that building for 100 years. (See the post about Sam).

According to Todd Ganos, Sam’s grandson, Sam brought Mendel into the business in the late 40s, eventually turning it over to him, renaming it Mendel’s Café. In the early 1950s, the Café moved around the corner to the building on Boyes Blvd. These buildings later came to known as the “Uncle Patty’s” block.

bhs1950ssnapshots1-copyAn article in the Index Tribune of June 1, 1951, tells us the café would be open every day but Tuesday, starting Memorial Day. On the same page we learn that, “14,000 swam at Boyes Over the Weekend.” Also on the same page was an ad for Bob and Edith Lanning’s Resort Club, offering “Fun, Friendship and Fine Drinks…. Blue Pacific Strings are playing Saturday night.”nathansThe building next to Mendel’s, housing Nelson’s Delicatessen in the 50s, is thought to be the former Nathan’s, dating from circa 1910. (Photo courtesy of the California State Library.)mendelsopensnotelyRather than just citing newspaper stories, sometimes it’s interesting to look at the whole page, or part of a page, to give context. The above clipping is from the Index Tribune, November 14, 1952. It’s interesting that the “local boy” witnessing the H bomb test was permitted to write home about it! The Hot Springs Happenings columnist later became Gaye LeBaron who is well known as a journalist and historian of Sonoma County. Visit http://library.sonoma.edu/specialcollections/lebaron to find out about the Gaye Lebaron Collection at the Sonoma State University Library. (Reading newspaper archives is similar to reading the dictionary: all kinds of unexpected information and associations pop up.)

In March, 1955 Mendel sold the café to Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sterling. Cader had been running the café for eight years. The same year, Mendel was apparently managing the restaurant at the Sonoma Golf and Country Club. That New Years Eve he offered “dancing, favors, surprises” and a deluxe steak dinner for $7.50. In 1958, Mendel was hosting at the Broadway Café, located at #536 Broadway. The same year, he closed the Broadway Café and opened a bar in San Francisco, “with an uncle.”it1958mendelbroadwaycafecropSome time after the SF venture he again opened Mendel’s Café in Boyes, which had become “Millie’s.” He then sold it in 1963 and went on to operate Diamond Lil’s Restaurant in Petaluma with his brother Dave.diamondlilfrontandbackLillian Cader Ganos had inherited Sam Gano’s substantial estate, which she lavished on Mendel and his brother, who proceeded to go bankrupt in the 1970s.

 

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