2013-03-01 / Community

Pizza Hut and IHOP were mainstays

By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


Photos of the Maine Mall area have garnered much attention on the South Portland Historical Society’s Facebook page. (Courtesy photo) Photos of the Maine Mall area have garnered much attention on the South Portland Historical Society’s Facebook page. (Courtesy photo) We ran a photograph of the Maine Mall Cinema in January that has proven to be very nostalgic for many South Portlanders. Our Window on the Past this week looks at the businesses on the same lot at 391 Maine Mall Road, across from Sears. This December 2004 photograph comes from the Peter and Paul Jeffery collection. When looking at this property from the street, the Pizza Hut restaurant was located just in front of the movie theater to the left, and also at the front of the lot but to the right was the original IHOP restaurant location.

The IHOP restaurant was the first business at that location. Both the Pizza Hut and Maine Mall Cinema opened shortly after, around 1976. Eric Blumenthal worked at the movie theater. Blumenthal remembers, “As a GC employee, we would routinely trade tickets for food from both Pizza Hut and IHOP.”

One of the early employees at Pizza Hut, Jeanne Martin Chown, said, “I worked at that Pizza Hut ’76-’77. Earned $1.15 an hour plus tips. The manager was Bronce McLain from Johnson City, Tennessee.”

I spent my summers in the late-1980s working at the front desk at the South Portland Motor Inn (now Days Inn) located just down the street. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how many personal pan pepperoni pizzas I consumed over those summers – it was a very quick walk from the hotel to the restaurant, and lunch for less than $2 was the perfect price for a college student.

If you enjoy looking at nostalgic photographs, we hope you will consider becoming a member of the South Portland Historical Society. Our historical society works to collect and preserve South Portland’s history and is supported by the voluntary donations of residents and businesses in our community. An individual membership is $15 – please make your check out to South Portland Historical Society and mail to 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106. If you’d like to donate by credit card, call us at 767-7299 or go to our website at http://www.sphistory.org/ and use the “donate now” button. Thanks

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