THE COACHLITE SUPPER CLUB
If you were in Seymour during the 1960s and were looking for a great place to eat, the Coachlite Supper Club was high on your list. Conveniently located on Main Street in downtown Seymour, Janice and Roger Eick were your hosts. Noted for tasty steaks, lobster, and broasted chicken, the Eicks ran the Coachlite from 1965 to 1972.
Janice recalls working for her mother, Tillie Stueflat, at the Nook restaurant during the early 1960s, then purchasing it several years later. After an extensive renovation, including adding a dining room in the back, the restaurant could seat 80 guests for dinner.
The decor featured red carpeting with white coach lights on the walls and white linens on all the tables. Diners sat in wooden captain’s chairs. The barroom was done in red carpeting, white Austrian drapes with a red valance over the top and a fancy chandelier in the middle of the room. A large mirror behind the back bar added a wider dimension to the relatively narrow room.
In addition to the steaks, seafood and chicken, customers enjoyed homemade soups and freshly baked bread and rolls. The Coachlite was a great place to gather after a round of golf or ball game. During the Lombardi era the bar room was crowded from wall to wall with Packer fans before and after the games. Roger even came up with a free season ticket that he passed out to promote the business.
Janice remembers the long hours and hard work that the business required, but most of all she enjoyed all the terrific people she met and her diligent staff. “We were blessed with many loyal customers and dedicated employees.” When asked to recall some of the most memorable events, she smiled and told about the 1968 Seymour Centennial Celebration parade when the Coachlite sponsored a large white pumpkin coach drawn by two horses and a sign that said, “Dine with Cinderella at the Coachlite.” All the characters of the Cinderella story marched in the parade including the mice, Lucifer the cat, the ugly stepmother and her sisters, along with Prince Charming. The coach was handmade by Roger and Janice’s dad.
It was special when celebrities stopped to dine. The most memorable event was in 1967 when the entertainers at the fair ate at the Coachlite. The group included Carmel Quinn, Minnie Pearl, Frank Sinatra Jr., Frank Fontaine and others. They enjoyed the local cuisine and all signed a menu before leaving.
In 1968 the first Seymour Outstanding Citizen of the Year banquet was held at the Coachlite. Harvey Muehl, a long time Seymour businessman, was the recipient. The program was sponsored by the Seymour Press and Jaycees.
With growing children and more responsibilities at home, in 1972 Janice and Roger sold the business to Lloyd and Alice Lemorande. Eventually, after several more changes in ownership, the building was destroyed by fire in 1985. Additional pictures and more information about the Coachlite can be found on this Seymour Historical Society Web site (seymourhistory.org) under “Image Gallery