Carl’s Townhouse


I love a good diner. A fancy meal is great once in a while but if you want to impress me take me to a place with a lunch counter and an honest to goodness rotary phone on the wall. If I whip out my phone and start taking pictures you’ll know you did good.

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I hit two antique malls in downtown Chillicothe and had lunch with my mother at Carl’s Townhouse. Carl’s is a local landmark that began life at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. According to their menu, it was purchased by a local resident and brought to Chillicothe where it operated as NCL, an acronym of Nice Clean Lunch as well as the names of the original owners Nagley, Conrad and Landrum.

A fellow named Carl Reinhard purchased the building in 1951 and operated it as Carl’s Townhouse until his retirement thirty years later. Since then, ownership has changed a couple of times. Most notably, it was moved to its current site in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition at its original Paint Street location.

Moved to Second Street in the dead of night, the building was restored and expanded over the next two years. It has operated here ever since, using the original Carl’s menu of sandwiches, soups, homemade pies and all day breakfast on the weekends.

46525501_2028883797189801_3957679086133837824_nThe black and white tile floors are gorgeous and I love all the chrome but the crown jewel here really is the counter. I love the counter and the stools. 

And I can’t believe I did this but there’s a rotary phone on the wall and I totally forgot to take a picture. I grew up with a rotary wall phone but it’s not something you see much these days.

Saturday was gloomy and cold so my mother had vegetable soup (which she said was really good) and grilled cheese. I had onion rings with my grilled cheese along with a piece of butterscotch cream pie that was to die for.

They have a daily special, good service and fabulous atmosphere. The food isn’t fancy, just your diner fair but we really enjoyed it. If you’re downtown and looking for something a little different but still quick, Carl’s is the way to go.

Carl’s Townhouse is located at 95 W. Second St. in Chillicothe. If you go, Sweet William’s across the street has the best chocolate dipped strawberries and Totem Supply Company just down the block carries some fun gift items and retro tshirts featuring local spots of bygone years like Rinks and Camp Sherman. And, of course, there are a few good places to find antiques in town and some great specialty shops including Apollo Records and Ivy’s Home and Garden. Take some time to explore!


3 thoughts on “Carl’s Townhouse

  1. Hello. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this. I grew up in Frankfort, OH with two sets of grandparents and a great grandmother in Chillicothe. I was feeling homesick after moving to another state and found this post while looking at places I loved ‘back home’. I used to go to the library and then spend the afternoon reading in Carl’s! If you get a chance, you should also check out Crispie Creme Donuts as well.

    • Hi Regan! I am so glad you enjoyed it! I love Carl’s and Crispy Creme too! Good idea to write about it for the blog! I was thinking this morning that I need to feature Sumburger one of these days! Thanks for reading. Did you catch the Frankfort posts from earlier this year? 😉

  2. Pingback: Enjoy the Small Things | Make the Journey Fun

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