Memories of The Robin Hood
Memories of the Robin Hood
To submit a memory for publication on this web page, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Robin Hood” in the subject line. Please include your degree, class year, and city/state if applicable.
Karen Ross commented May 30, 2019:
I have many fond memories of the Robin Hood, including singing "To the Hood, to the Hood, to the Hood, Hood, Hood" while treking on over. But one memory stands out. It was an extremely bitter winter night and the wind was particularly strong. I was coming back from the computer lab (yes, I used punch cards) and realized my face was so frozen that I better duck into the Hood to warm up. The Hood was about halfway between the computer lab and my room on Crain Avenue. Well, I was the only person in the place. I got a glass of bourbon and sat in front of the fire and worked on debugging my program. It was perfect. Better than my rented room or the library ever was! The next day, I went back to work on another program, but the place was packed. What a difference a day makes!
Karen Ross, BBA '83
Patty Teter Fischer commented March 27, 2019:
[After asking her if she could share Tommy's recipe for those famous Robin Hood sticky rolls:]
You will be shocked how she told me to make the cinnamon rolls! But I get requests for them wherever I take them, and they are a breakfast special at our house for all holidays.
[From Tommy's response, after Patty wrote her asking for her roll recipe:]
"Patty, I don't have a recipe for the rolls that you could use. Buy the Pillsbury or Betty Crocker Hot Roll mix and go by the recipe [on the box], which is very good. Spread with warm butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and roll up. Cut into pieces and put in muffin tins."
Tommy made her dough from scratch, but in such quantities for the restaurant that she didn't know how to break it down for home use.
Here's what I do: Mix up the ingredients like the box directions tell you and roll out the dough. But then I depart from the box instructions. I spread a stick of soft butter all over the pastry dough. Then I mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and spread it over the buttered dough. (If you think it's too much sugar, you can leave some out, but I use the whole amount.)
Roll up the dough, cut it with a serrated knife into individual pieces, then place them in a tin or pan. Tommy always put them in a 12-cup muffin tin, but it's a lot of cleanup. You can use two 8 x 8 cake pans or a 9 x 12 pan. Just be sure to grease the pan really good with Crisco; otherwise, with all that sugar, it will stick and you won't be able to get it out of the pan. (If you're going to give it away, just buy one of those one-use aluminum pans; they work just as well.)
Let the rolls rise for maybe an hour until they're double in size. I cover them with wax paper and a light towel and let them rise.
Tommy used to keep a big coffee can with a brown sugar and butter syrup in it, and when the rolls came out of the oven, she would dab a little of that on each one. But she never, ever put icing on her cinnamon rolls.
[Above] are some rolls I made for my neighbor. Notice no icing on top! (Besides, there is so much sugar in the roll recipe, I think it would be too sweet.)
Those sticky rolls were the only rolls or bread they served with meals at the Robin Hood when I worked there. You got one sticky roll on a separate bread and butter plate with every meal. And if you wanted butter with it, it was 3 cents extra.
One time, I remember a customer asked if he could have a regular dinner roll to eat with his steak. But we didn't have any. Just those sticky rolls.
Patty Teter Fischer (wife of Joel Fischer, BA ’64)
Patty Teter Fischer commented March 25, 2019:
I worked at the Robin Hood from 1957 to 1962. They were only open from 11 am to 8 pm, which made it ideal hours for a high school student to work. They also did not serve liquor, only coffee, tea or milk. Of course, then you could not have liquor within one mile of the university.
I was 14 when I started there. They didn't require working papers. I only worked weekends at first, then evenings and weekends. And then full time. The wage we earned was .65 an hour plus tips. We worked 6 days a week with only one day off. I still have a few of my withholding tax statements from that time. In 1959, my total for the year was $198.68; in 1960, the total was $595.40. I thought I was rich!
I loved it there.
I was the youngest one there at the time, along with the older waitstaff and chef, line cooks, salad station people and the pastry cook. The pastry cook's name was Hazel Thomas, but we called her Tommy, and she made the best pies and cinnamon rolls around. People used to come from Cleveland and all over just to have her pastries.
Robin Hood was the place to go then on Parents Day, Homecoming football games, Incoming Freshman day. (And the freshmen did wear beanies and scrub the entrance to the university with a tooth brush.) Parking was a real premium on those days. We were totally filled and busy all day long.
The main dining room was fine dining, and you had to be dressed nice to be seated there. The other dining area was called "The Den" and was mainly for students and was casual dress.
There was a different menu printed every day for The Den. Aside from different choices on the regular menu, it included a "special of the day" Monday through Friday. The specials included a soup, salad, main entree, dessert and beverage and cost between .85 cents and $1.25. Mrs. Grabinsteder [the owner] said students had little money but they could afford her specials. Some of the items on those specials were creamed chicken, meatloaf, chili.
There was a banquet room upstairs where the Chamber of Commerce would have lunch and their meetings. Some other groups also; I just can't remember their names.
Holidays had some students who didn't leave to go home. So they and quite a few of the locals came for a special holiday meal. It was always very busy. No time for breaks.
Edna Grabinsteder was the owner and Ruth Jacobsen [sp?] and Kate Dennis were manager and hostess. Kim and Bob were the chefs. Ruth, Salona, Ronnie, Eva, Carol, Hugh were some of the waitstaff. I can't remember all their names, but I loved working there and I remember them. We had some college students who worked while going to school, but most of the employees were local.
I was sorry to learn it was torn down, but the memories I had of working there with people from all walks of life were the best. I doubt there is any other place like it.
Mrs. Jacobsen and Kate Dennis and Salona took me under their wing and taught me how to serve fine dining, manage and handle customers and waitstaff. When I was older and my youngest child entered school, I became a manager in a fine dining facility at one of the largest retirement homes at the time in New Jersey. I retired after 30 years.
P.S. My brother and I used to sled down the hills at Kent State where the library and some of the dorms are now. In the summer we used to wander in and out of all the classrooms and talk to whoever would put up with us. I remember the babies in the bottles on the shelves in one of the science rooms, also the skeleton that hung in there.
We lived on the corner of Summit and Lincoln. We also attended the Kent State teaching school on Lincoln St. I was in 5th grade, my brother was in 4th grade, and my sister was in 9th. We only went for a year then moved from the area.
I don't recognize Kent the way it is now from when I lived there. But I have wonderful memories of it. And I do have a letter from Tommy about the Robin Hood, after she left. She sent me the recipe for her cinnamon rolls. :-)
Patty Teter Fischer (wife of Joel Fischer, BA ’64)
Ruthie Kucharewski commented February 17, 2019:
Thank you for the memories! I actually had the huge "Hood" sign that hung outside the Hood in my Terrace Hall dorm room! It was given to me by the owner when they decided to replace it. The women from Terrace and the Moulton men helped me carry it home! We spent many "Happy Hours" at the Hood!
Ruthie Kucharewski, BS ’75
Yvonne Smerick commented February 5, 2019:
My first experience [at the Robin Hood] was compliments of my roommate's father. He was there to take his daughter out on a Father's Day Weekend. My father died when I was four, but her father, Mr. Brundic, graciously invited me along. I had never been to a restaurant in my life. This was a precious moment for me! Of course, the sticky buns were a big hit for me! Thank you, Mr. Brundic, for including me.
Yvonne Smerick, BS ’64
Jim Thompson commented February 5, 2019:
The evening of the very first lottery for selective service, fall semester 1969. I was not watching the drawing of the lottery; my roommate was. His number was 9, and he immediately asked me to join him at the Robin Hood for one or several Robin Hood ales. We went, he drank many, along with a bar full of others, most of whom had numbers under 100. At some point, I went downstairs to the head and upon my return to the bar I learned my number was 332. Needless to say, I was not the most popular dude at the bar and actually left quite quickly to avoid confrontation and inebriation. Will never forget the Robin Hood.
James Thompson, BS ’72
Matthew Daecher commented February 5, 2019:
I attended KSU from 1988-1992. I was a disc jockey during that time, working weekends at nightclubs in Cleveland and Thursdays and other weeknights at bars/nightclubs in Kent and Akron. The Robin Hood and Shark Club were two Kent bars I played at during those years. Sad to hear [the Robin Hood] was torn down...been awhile since I've been back to campus.
Matthew Daecher, BA ’92
Linda Fifer commented February 5, 2019:
Ironically, my family stopped at the Robin Hood for dinner in the late 1950s when I was about 7, during a vacation to Niagara Falls. Little did I know that Robin Hood would become Friar Tuck's when I was accepted at Kent State in 1970. One of THE places for live bands during my time at KSU, it didn't have the same magic that the 7-year-old saw, but I did fulfill a promise to return to Kent one day. Completed both my batchelor's and master's degrees.
Linda Fifer, BS ’74, MA ’75
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Michael Hyduk commented February 5, 2019:
I lived behind the Robin Hood for a couple of years (Fall 1983 to Spring 1985) when I attended "The Kent State University." My roommates and I, whom all played rugby, would always walk thru our backyard, on a block wall and down a well-worn path to "The Hood." It was a place to grab a cold beer and enjoy some time with teammates, see some classmates, create new ones, all great memories! Thanks for a few more!.
Michael Hyduk, BA ’85
San Diego, Calif.
Katie Farrow commented February 5, 2019:
When I think of St. Patrick's Day, I think of green beer at the Robin Hood at 8 a.m., if not earlier! Never had any fine dining there, but a lot of dancing and drinking.
Katie Farrow, BS ’04
Twoleoz commented January 11, 2019:
I read the comments about the Robin Hood by fellow alumni, and was surprised by their references to "long lines for 3.2 beer and pizza." It obviously changed over the years from the early-mid 50s, when it was a lovely restaurant with tablecloths, silverware, et al. Our "hang out" for beer and dancing was out in the countryside, east of Kent at the "Big House." It would be interesting to hear what readers remember about it.
Mel Grossman, BS ’55
Twoleoz commented January 10, 2019:
Enjoyed many a meal at the Robin Hood with family, plus association dinners. Loved their sticky rolls!
Mel Grossman, BS ’55
Stratmandu commented January 8, 2019:
One evening during my sophomore year in the autumn of 1971, I was at the Robin Hood with a group of friends, enjoying a glass of the best 3.2 beer 25 cents could buy, when in walked a beautiful woman who immediately caught my eye. She was there to “gather” her roommate, who was with our group, to escort her back to her dorm.
Before she could leave, I made sure I got her name as I was not about to let her vanish into the darkness without any hope of seeing her again. Barbara, BFA ’73, and I will be celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary this summer along with a few black squirrels and a pint of 3.2 beer!
Chuck Paul, BBA ’74
Marla Krigbaum commented January 8, 2019:
The balcony overlooking the dining room, the open beam walls and arched doorways were so romantic! It was 1952 and I was a wide-eyed Newton Falls High School freshman attending a regional orchestral workshop.
Once again, in the 1960s, the inexpensive student menu drew me into the charming brick English cottage, a place like home to meet friends and share a meal.
Thank you for bringing back such good memories.
Marla (Switz) Krigbaum, BS ’66
New Meadows, Idaho
Diane Zeigler commented January 5, 2019:
Was I happy to see your article on Robin Hood on the FlashBACK page of the Fall/Winter issue of Kent State Magazine! I remembered my mother told me that her brother worked at Robin Hood to support himself while attending Kent State in the early 30s. But alas, I could find no “Robin Hood” in Kent when visiting the area during my son’s time at Kent State in 2016-18.
My uncle, who would now be 107 years old, worked in the soda fountain area at Robin Hood. I'm told he loved getting to the bottom of the White House Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream where many of the cherries settled! A fellow female student came in and flirted with him on occasion. That female student would become his wife. And my wonderful uncle, who also played baseball for Kent State, went on to serve our country in the military as a dentist.
Thanks for your story!
Dennis Lebec commented January 3, 2019:
From Winter 1970 until Spring 1972 when I graduated, the Robin Hood was the place to be. I remember waiting in long lines to get in at the side entrance on N. Lincoln St. during brutally cold Friday or Saturday winter nights. Inside was always crowded, the pitchers of beer were cold, the pizza was hot, and the conversation with friends and strangers was lively. A large dog named Emma would stroll around from table to table. Great memories of a special time.
Dennis Lebec, BS ’72, MA ’76
Gregg Schoof commented December 27, 2018:
Thanks for the flashback on the old Robin Hood Tea Room on page 36 of the latest KSU magazine. I remember an “all nighter” there to study for exams, plus other days spent just hanging out with friends.
It is a real shame that this historic landmark was allowed to be torn down without campus or community leaders stepping in to preserve it in the name the Kent community, alumni and future generations.
A thoughtful developer should really step up to recreate this beautiful building. Come on KSU and city officials, get to work and make it happen!! Please don’t put some junky fast food place there.
Gregg Schoof, BA ’79
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Don Di Sanza commented December 26, 2018:
Re: flash back
Ah, the Robin Hood Restaurant as I knew it in the early '60s in Kent, Ohio. It was the place where I met my parents as a freshman before the Homecoming football game and their other visits when they made it back to Kent, Ohio.
It is sad that it is now gone but those memories are still vivid in my thoughts. It is a place I will always remember for those good times.
Thank you Stephanie Langguth ’03 for your research and effort and to Kent State Magazine.
Don Di Sanza, BS ’64
David Elkovitch commented December 24, 2018:
When I was at Kent from 1970 till I graduated in 1972 I stayed at Moulton Hall a few steps from the Robin Hood. As a member of the KSU Tennis Team, it was a great hangout for a few members of the team. My roommate always had chugging contests there and always won. He would open his mouth and just put the beer in and he didn't even have to swallow!!!!! This was the best place and always full of people so you couldn't even move.
David Elkovitch, BS ’72
Scott Granger commented December 21, 2018:
Saw your article about the evolution of the Robin Hood inn through the years. I was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in the late 60s and early 70s, and our house was just down the way on Lincoln Street. There were many a night that someone would yell “the hood” and whoever wanted would go for a few drinks. The drink of choice by my “brothers” was the Robin Hood ale. I still think of those good times often as I drive by the vacant lot.
Scott Granger, BS ’71, MS ’76
North Canton, Ohio