Silenced in the Prime of Life: If Only the Lancer's Walls could Talk

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/07/2009 - 05:30.

Lancer Steakhouse burned to the ground

Cleveland lost another one of its great historic institutions, Sunday morning, as the Lancer Steakhouse burned beyond salvage, and was demolished. Established in the mid-1950's, making it one the first restaurant’s in Cleveland owned and operated by an African American, the Lancer was for five decades at the heart of more political action, and home to more important moments and memories, than any other restautant in this region - a truly historic place in the evolution of Northeast Ohio, for the past 50 years.

And, free wifi.

Now it is gone.

The Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University has a 2007 audio interview with the owner of The Lancer, George Dixon III, discussing the restaurant and the Midtown Corridor, here.

It will be interesting to see if Dixon rebuilds The Lancer, and in what form. News reports about the fire state he did not have insurance, but he certainly has a solid track record, and a valuable, cleared lot on Carnegie Avenue, with a motel... and, as President of the Board of Trustees of RTA, he has lots of strong political friends, going way down the track... I believe The Lancer will be back.

Best wishes to the Dixons and their employees, who are obviously now out of work.

As I was photographing the fire scene, there was a constant procession of cars and people going by, to mourn this loss.

One woman stopped and asked if I saw a file cabinet in the debris - I told her nothing was recognizable in the debris.

She said she had worked there... she obviously left something behind... she sat there in her car looking at the scene in shock, for a long time, probably wondering where her next paycheck will come from.

After 50 years, I wonder what was in that file cabinet.

If only the Lancer's walls could talk.

If only The Lancer still had walls.

Lancer Steakhouse burned to ground

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I former prostitute once

I former prostitute once told me that The Lancer provided a separate dining area for pimps.   Is that true?  If that's true, I'm glad the filthy business burned down without insurance.   I'm supposed to respect a business tha catered to human traffickers and those who profit off the misery of, far example, the missing women who were found murdered in Anthony Sowell's home? 

If what that former prostitute told me is NOT true, I apologize.   THe PD noted that many pimps and other hustlers frequented the Lancer, but it did not state that the Lancer activiely supported them the way this former prostitutte told me they did. 

So, I'd like to know if what I heard is true or not.    If the Lancer actively supported Cleveland pimps, they are disgusting. 

OF course, some of the local politicians who hung out there were pimps of a different sort, as well.