Lens on History: Meet me at the Derby

September 5, 2018

The Brown Derby, located at 323 First Ave. SW in Rochester, opened in 1939.

When Arthur Stretch opened his Brown Derby bar and café in 1939, there were probably no searchlights panning the sky and no movie stars or studio heads sitting in a corner booth in the dark, trying not to be recognized.

The legendary Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood was close to the movie studios and a favorite place to be seen and for the “big deal.”

The Brown Derby at 323 First Ave. SW in Rochester was close to car dealers, repair shops and gas stations and was just the place for a good steak or a short beer.

While there is no known record of it happening, wouldn’t it make a great story if Golden Age celebrities such as George Burns or Gracie Allen had gone to the Derby during their visits to the World Famous? A picture of Burns and Allen in the Brown Derby, in Rochester ... priceless.

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