By Ray Bennett
I’ve eaten in a great number of restaurants in my life, good, bad and indifferent, but only two ever captured my heart.
One is Dan Tana’s on Santa Monica Boulevard, the most enjoyable dining establishment in Los Angeles. The other is Ye Olde Steak House in Windsor, Canada, which has served its last meal after 41 years.
Kurt and Irma Deeg ran the place expertly with reliably good food and friendly service, attracting customers from around Ontario and Michigan, being situated across the river from Detroit.
I was a regular in my time at The Windsor Star newspaper in the late 1960s and ’70s, and Kurt even allowed me an account, taking a huge risk with a newspaperman in those days, or at any time.
I took English comics Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes (left) to lunch at Ye Olde Steak House in 1976 when they were in Detroit performing their classic comedy ‘Big Bad Mouse’. They declared the steak & kidney pie a great success, which it invariably was.
Lunches with colleagues from the newspaper could turn into all-afternoon affairs. Sunday nights were a favorite time for me with a quiet steak and bottle of wine. No return visit to the city was ever complete without a meal there.
The Deegs served great steaks prepared perfectly and a damned fine French onion soup. The servers knew your taste and the bartenders knew your drink. It could be raucous or romantic; a place for friends, love and laughter.
Windsor won’t be the same without it.
You are so right! My Husband and I new where to go for the best meal, the best servers (who new your taste) the best bartender( who new your drink) and the friendliest owners and staff around. You felt like family and they treated you thet way ” every single time” We moved away from Windsor after we retired but every trip home we have to go there for dinner to not only get the best meal ever but to visit our friends there. We have been going there for over 30 years and will miss it terribly. Thanks Irma, Kurt and Teddy, Janet, Pierret, Brenda and Peter for all the years of great service and a ton of fun. Good luck to you all wherever you venture to in the future
I had the extreme HONOR to work with Mr and Mrs Deeg at Ye Olde! I was there from 1978 until I moved to Calgary on January 1, 1981. I was a bar porter, wine steward, flaming coffee guy and part time bartender.
Mr Deeg had over 200 house accounts (probably way more) that he gave to people from all walks of life. He was always a very fair and generous Man….pay your bill and enjoy the house account.
He also paid his staff above industry wages which is why he retained his staff for so many years. In 1979, the average years of service among full time staff was 12.5 years. ETERNITY in the restaurant business.
Teddy and Peter (the cousins) LMAO! were two of the most amazing and influential people I ever met in my life.
Mr Deeg, apart from my Father, Grandfather and Uncle Bill, was the most influential person I ever met in my life.
What I wouldn’t do for a cheddar cheese, oven baked onion soup while sitting in the Staff Both at the Ye Olde Steak House.
Love From Calgary!
i was working there,in 1972,it was a good experience,but i was young,and without family,so i left windsor,for quebec,where i knew people,had i have an stable life in ontario,most likely,i would have stayed working at the meat restaurant,i remember joe,italian cook,and his father,that left there before me,maybe one day,because of windsor milder winters,possibly return there to end my cycle,am 69,on june 2,2017,in 72,i was 24,and used to go to barrio viejo in detroit,to see films in spanish,what memories
We went there for our 1st wedding Anniversary in 1974. Absolulely loved it. The atmosphere we so Olde English. Sorry its gone now, we have been married 46 years now, very happily.
Does anyone remember the big, old , craved chair with the ladies heads in it? It sat in the corner in the bar side, I believe, at the head of a large table.
Sorry, that was CARVED chair 🙂
Worked there as a bus boy in the early 70’s. If I could only travel back in time to sit down and have one more French Onion soup and medium rare Rib Eye steak. I left Windsor and moved to Toronto, traveled for business and visited many steaks house’s all over Canada and the USA. None even came close.
Cheddar Cheese and baked onion soup, my very favorite lunch. I never found anything to compare. Lela, Ottawa