Cassie Moore opened Cassie’s Lunch in 1940 at 2284 East 55th Street across the street from the Majestic Hotel. Within two years it was renamed Cassie’s Restaurant and expanded to 24-hour-a-day service. In 1945, Moore turned over the management of Cassie’s to Jimmy Smith, and a second location specializing in barbecue opened two years later at 9006 Cedar Avenue. The original Cassie’s specialized in home-cooked meals and quick service. Cassie’s offered many foods traditional to what one would associate with “soul food,” such as chicken, chops, steak, and other wholesome options for its guests. Much of what we consider to be soul food stems from the fact that enslaved Africans had to adapt traditional cooking to available foods. During slavery, African Americans adopted European and Native American foods into the African-centric cooking styles to present what we know now as “soul food” and southern-style cuisine. Soul food was product of African Americans asserting control to the extent they could over what they consumed.
More than a place to eat, Cassie’s, like many similar restaurants and local businesses, participated in bowling leagues in the 1940s. The Log Cabin, Douglass Club, and various other restaurants and taverns, all had their own bowling teams like Cassie’s and participated regularly in tournaments.
While Cassie’s earned mention in the Green Book beginning in 1946 as a place that African Americans could expect respectful treatment, its manager’s actions may have lent a different local image. Over the next two years, Smith was implicated in not only one but two shooting incidents. In 1947 he would be involved in the first where Smith claimed he had been struck, leading to the altercation between himself and the un-named man. Several close-range shots had been fired “harmlessly” from behind a parked car, resulting in jail time during the time of the investigation, but thankfully due to his bad aim no one was injured. The second occurrence happened in 1948 after a “friendly” tussle resulted in the accidental discharge of Smith’s 32-caliber revolver. Again, no one was injured. Unfortunately, Cassie’s closed both locations in 1954, but a new restaurant, William’s Bar-B-Q (owned by the celebrated “Barbeque King” Eugene “Hot Sauce” Williams) would open a new outlet in the East 55th location. Cassie Moore went on to work as the day chef at Dearing’s.
Green Book Details
Cassie’s appears in the Green Book from 1946 to 1954 at 2284 E. 55th St. under the category Restaurants.
- Bower, Anne. African American Foodways: Explorations of History and Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
- “Cleveland Bowlers Down Visiting Toledo Teams 8-2.” Call & Post. March 8, 1941.
- “Dearing’s Give Party for 39 Employees.” Call & Post. December 28, 1957.
- “Display Ad 30 — No Title.” Call & Post. April 5, 1947.
- “Jimmy Smith Rides again!” Call & Post. March 27, 1948.
- “New Manager.” Call & Post. March 24, 1945.
- Thompson, Ruth. 1946. “With Cleveland Keglers.” Call and Post. October 26, 1946.
- “Williams, Bob. “‘Hot Sauce’ Williams Recovers.” Call & Post. September 4, 1954.