Dear Call Box: Do you remember the name of a restaurant on the Arlington Expressway during the mid-1970s? It was a steak place, and it had a big salad bar. And I think they served a really good ice cream dessert that had apples, cinnamon and other spices.
Dear L.H.: It was Steak and Ale, and it was noted for that well-stocked salad bar, its apple dessert that was big enough to share, its Kensington club steak, New York strip, herb-roasted prime rib, filet mignon, Hawaiian chicken and spicy grilled chicken pasta. The restaurant, which was at 8350 Arlington Expressway, closed in 2000 after almost 29 years in business. With its Tudor architecture, rough stucco walls, rustic beams and cozy rooms, it was a popular spot for anniversaries, birthday parties and other signature events.
Among Steak and Ale’s other area locations were 8560 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park and 8225 Dix Ellis Trail near Baymeadows Road and Interstate 95.
The chain of casual dining restaurants was founded by restaurant pioneer Norman Brinker in Dallas in 1966. It billed itself as offering an upscale steak experience at lower prices. At its height in the late 1980s, it had 280 locations before competition eroded its market presence. In 2008, after various ownership changes, the chain’s remaining 58 locations closed as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Its parent company, which also owns Bennigan’s, is offering potential franchisees the opportunity to “Own A Steak and Ale” on the Bennigan’s website.
The 5 Star group bought the 7,200-foot building on the Arlington Expressway for $290,000 at the end of 2001 for use as a bar and lounge, according to the Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office. It was renamed 5 Star Liquor Bar & Grill Inc.
Dear Call Box: I’m getting up in age, and I’ve got a few unusual stamps, and I want to get rid of them before anything happens. Is there a stamp club or anything in town that I could get in contact with?
Dear C.K.: Yes, the Jacksonville Stamp Collectors Club is at least 82 years old and has a Facebook page. The club meets at 7 p.m. the second and third Tuesday of each month at the Northeast Florida Safety Council at 1725 Art Museum Drive. At the meetings, members often do presentations on their collections or discuss postal history and related subjects.
It’s a casual group (jeans and T-shirts) whose meetings attract anywhere from 10 to 35 people, depending on the weather, said Bill Sweers, vice president.
Though not as popular as it used to be, stamp collecting still has its devotees, Sweers said.
The club has spring and fall shows with different themes and a table for kids to spark their enthusiasm. In a social media age, most, ironically, have never mailed a letter, he said. The club also has an auction every other month, and there is ample opportunity for trading stamps.
The doors are always open to visitors, Sweers said. Guests are not required to be members unless they want to participate in the auctions. The annual membership fee is $15.
For more information call (904) 389-6754.
Dear Call Box: I am in need of some help with an old National Cash Register from the F.W. Woolworth Company circa 1956. I purchased it from Arlington Business Machine in the 1980s. For some reason it’s jammed, and I have had zero luck online trying to get some information or a manual. It’s in pristine condition, and I would like to make it work so I can sell it. I was hoping one of your readers may have some information on where to take it.
Dear K.K.: We will throw this out to the readers, who have come through many times in the past. So, if anyone knows of businesses in the Jacksonville area that can repair old cash registers, please let Call Box know.
Submit questions by calling (904) 359-4622 or mailing to Call Box, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231. Please include contact information. If you have a picture to offer with your question, feel free to send it.
Sandy Strickland: (904) 359-4128