Vim Lunch, also known as Vim Restaurant, was located on the north side of Superior Avenue just west of its intersection with West 3rd Street, diagonally across Superior from Hotel Cleveland (now the Renaissance Hotel). The business opened in 1937, but an earlier restaurant or restaurants were located in the same building going back at least to the early 1920s. In 1941 the restaurant appeared in the Green Book, but in the following year it also landed on a less appealing list as one of four Cleveland nightspots that U.S. servicemen were forbidden to enter, a list that grew to eight a few months later. No reason was offered beyond the contention that it was “undesirable,” which was possibly a hostile reaction to the fact that African Americans patronized the business. Perhaps its inclusion on the Army’s shortlist of banned nightspots explains why Vim Lunch vanished from the Green Book soon after its selection for inclusion in the annual Black travel guide. The restaurant never appeared in the Call & Post except as the site of two knife attacks in 1944, a year that also saw a shooting on the sidewalk following an altercation in the cafe. The business remained open at least into the early 1950s.
No further information is available.
- “Army Order Bans Ohio Night Spots.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. January 30, 1942.
- “Knifing Victim.” Call & Post. October 28, 1944.
- Leacacos, John P. “Army Ban Now on Eight Night Spots.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. June 12, 1942.
- “Ohio Incorporations.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. October 1, 1937.
- “Stabbed Downtown.” Call & Post. April 14, 1944.
- “Victim Was Bystander.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. August 21, 1944.
Green Book Details
Vim Lunch appears in the 1941 Green Book at 310 W. Superior Ave. in the category Taverns.