Monday, August 14, 2006

Northgate Mall

Cincinnati, Ohio - circa 1970s

Stylish and swanky interior view of Johnny Bench's Home Plate restaurant, in Northgate Mall! Northgate is currently undergoing a major new year-long renovation makeover project that kicked off in April of this year, and is estimated to be completed by Christmas 2007. The mall has seen a few minor updates over the years, and one other major renovation (in 1992) during its lifespan so far.

Yep, I'm sure by now every last drop of vintageness has long been squeezed out of her.

Mall history: 1972 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Resource articles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Previous entries: none

(photo courtesy of


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow thats awesome! Can't wait to hear the stories behind this one. I wonder what the waitresses wore? I bet the food was terrible.

Mon Aug 14, 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I bet this was a sports bar of sorts. At any rate, the giant scoreboard shows where the focus lies. Still, I love those swanky vintage lounge chairs, though I bet the vinyl stuck to your thighs.

Mon Aug 14, 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Easy to clean the pizza and beer off of, though, Cora. :)

And, Anonymous, I wonder, too, about this place. Hope eventually someone will have memories of it to share here. Please post if you do!

Tue Aug 15, 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Don't have any memories but I do have an observation. That looks like the scoreboard for Family Feud.

Tue Aug 15, 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger JacklynKy said...

Hey! We ate there when I was a kid. We live in Kentucky and made an annual trip to see a Reds game every year. I had a huge crush on Pete Rose, don't ask me why. I Met him once, but that's another

We saw an ad for Johnny Bench's restaurant in the program and decided to try it. dad got lost and we drove so far north I thought we would end up in Akron. We finally found the restaurant and it wasn't exactly a family friendly place. The menu was fairly upscale. We ate there, but it was hard to find things we kids would eat. It is one of those family stories we remember fondly. Although, I don't think my parents were too "fond" when we were lost and headed north!

Fri Sep 08, 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous CoastersNSich said...

A few notes about Northgate Mall:

It opened in 1972 on a former air field, with McAlpin's (now Dillard's), Pogue's (later L.S. Ayres, now JCPenney), and Sears.

The first major renovation started maybe late 1992, completed about a year later - my first visit there was during that renovation. A large, open food court, 3-level garage, and Lazarus (now Macy's) were added.

Despite other malls, big boxes, and other newer development, Northgate is still doing well as a mid-scale mall, and the renovation will help. They just finished some interior remodeling - some sort of light-display that hangs from the ceiling of center court is worth seeing. There's also plans to build a stadium-style multiplex there to replace the dated cinemas.

However, one neat part of vintage Northgate is in danger - JCPenney is building a smaller, single-level store in a new power center to the north off I-275, and will thus close the Northgate location sometime in 2007.

So, get a great look soon at this modernist 3-story Penney's, along with the neat but dated escalator atrium with its glass elevator, before it closes.

Never knew about Bench's restaurant, though...

Thu Nov 30, 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous CoastersNSich said...

Update on Northgate: JCPenney has opened at the new "Stone Creek Town Center" near Meijer, and the old one at Nortgate has thus closed. Last time I went by, in August, the Penney building was fenced, signs removed, and an opening on the thrid floor, east side. I'm in Columbus, OH now, so I can't easily go and see what the site/building is like as of now.

Northgate's site, and other news articles, are now saying that a 14-screen Rave Motion Pictures theater will occupy the JCPenney space. I don't know if they mean they are retrofitting the theatres into the existing building, or tearing down the structure and building a new one for the theatres. The existing Northgate Cinemas, just near the corner of Colerain and Springdale, will be torn down.

I've seen the Rave in West Chester (north of Cincinnati off I-75), and Rave theatres look great, architecturally and interior-wise. Hate to lose the Penney store, but at least the movie theatres going in its place will look good.

Sat Nov 03, 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger JR said...

I worked there from 1975 to 1980 when they sold. What would you like to know?

Thu Nov 15, 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Allen said...

Bad news to report... the former JCPenney building is gone. Back in December, it looked like they were just gutting that building and putting the cinemas inside. All that really remains is one section that's attached to the mall, and the third floor is held up with a big truss. But I guess it'll be less tricky retrofitting a department store into a cineplex.

Wed Mar 19, 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tom AgDo said...

Like JR I also worked there, as cashier back in the kitchen, and later cooking, from when it opened around 1974 til about 1977. JR and I problably crossed paths. The waiters and waitress wore orange sweaters, and the gals had short orange and brown cheerleader type skirts. ala the Bengals colors. In additon to the Reds room in the picture, there were also hockey and football themed rooms.
Had a great time working there! Don Bloomfield was the Manager. Danny Noe was the chef. Would love to make contact with the old crew.

Tom Downing
now Tom Aguilar-Downing - can be found on Google.

Fri Jun 05, 12:46:00 PM  

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