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(Mary's) Celebrity Supper Club, 3311 Two Notch Road: 1970s   10 comments

Posted at 11:15 pm in historic,restaurants

Fine Foods Smartly Served!

I can't actually recall any other operation in this building, right up the hill from Dick Dyer, before Ole Place Club. That operation seems to be pretty durable despite having, at one point when Two Notch was especially bad, to put up a tart sign saying This Parking Lot is not a Loading Zone for Hookers!

The 1970 Southern Bell ad for The Celebrity Supper Club, as seemed to be common then, much longer hours than are now usual for a restaurant (though there were obviously entertainment elements as well). Nowdays almost everything closes at 10pm during the week, and if you walk in at 9:00, they act like its an imposition to stop mopping the floor and take your order.. It also seems like there were more "steak" places back then than now. I don't know if its 30 years of the food police harping on cholesterol or if tastes have just naturally changed.

UPDATE 17 October 2009: Added "(Mary's)" to the post title.

UPDATE 29 December 2009: Sadly Mary Dixon passed away on Christmas Eve 2009. From The State's obiturary:

COLUMBIA — Mary Simpson Dixon, perpetually 34, passed away on Christmas Eve. She was born in the Kibbee Community near Vidalia, Georgia, to the late Alfred Oliver and Alma Louise Rabon Simpson. As a teenager, Miss Mary moved to Savannah and began her stellar career in food service by working for an exclusive hotel chain, DeSota Hotels, training staff across the Southeast. She continued working in New Jersey, Florida, California (The Brown Derby, even though Howard Hughes tried to steal her away, and served various movie stars including Joan Crawford), Tybee Beach (where she worked for the Brass Rail before opening Mary’s Nic Nacs), and Augusta, Georgia (Ship Ahoy), before moving to Columbia in the early 1950s. She worked for the Ship Ahoy in Columbia, Laurel Hill Supper Club (where Las Vegas acts and entertainers performed and requested her personally), and Dick’s Flamingo Club, where she perfected her cheese-stuffed potato.

Written by ted on October 15th, 2009

10 Responses to '(Mary's) Celebrity Supper Club, 3311 Two Notch Road: 1970s'

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  1. Tastes changed, not only in food but what's expected for a meal outside the home. Standards used to be higher and more of a "dining experience" was expected for the money. Now, eating out is a necessity and the time savings is worth more than the money spent ... unless the meal starts to cost over $25/person.

    We're slaves "to the man" to the tune of 60 hours/week just to keep a job and fluff up "productivity" numbers. The last thing many of us want is a fine steak house dining experience lasting 2 hours. Then, there's the whole matter of the schlocky 50s, 60, 70s lounge atmosphere and elevator music falling out of style.

    Mitch

    16 Oct 09 at 10:44 am

  2. Just my opinion, but I agree.
    I seem to recall this place was called "Julie's Place" for a while, but I'm not sure whether that was 10, 15, or 20 years ago.

    badger

    16 Oct 09 at 12:38 pm

  3. I remember reading about a shooting outside of the place several decades ago. I don't know if it helped close the place down or not, but it was not a place that I would have ever had dinner. That is not the nicest part of Two Notch.

    For the historical reader, Two Notch was once named the Jefferson Davis Highway. Parts of #1 are still referred to by this moniker. I somehow feel that Two Notch would have been a nicer street had it kept its old name.

    joelc

    16 Oct 09 at 10:41 pm

  4. This place was also known as Mary's Celebrity Supper Club, and in the early to mid 1960s it was one of a handful of exclusive steak houses around Columbia. Dick's Flamingo Club featured in another entry on this site was another. They discouraged minors, but somehow my parents got me in and we had a decent steak dinner. I'll say decent because at the age of 7 or so it's hard to make judgements about just how good the place was. I remember it was definitely nicer in ambiance than the regular family-style places of the time, but I don't remember whether the food was worth all the machinations. I never ate there again. As I remember it, the entrance was on the west-side (Dick Dyer side) of the restaurant and was built to make the place look more impressive and even had a valet to open the doors. At that time, you may or may not remember, Two Notch was not the hooker and crack district that it is today and Mary's Celebrity Supper Club was usually packed whenever my parents and I would drive by. That was a simpler time when 'drive-bys' had a different meaning.

    Skip ahead 30 years and my band played there in the early '90s for a New Year's Eve party. It was called the Ole Place then and was a private club requiring membership, and believe it or not, was fairly nice inside considering the district. It had been totally remodeled from how I remember it as a supper club. The bathrooms were surprisingly clean and the place didn't reek of puke and beer. When we walked in to set up the equipment, there was this older lady sitting behind the bar, though not tending. She was probably at least in her late 70s when everyone else in the place was a good 30 years younger, and our singer, who had gotten the gig, said her name was Mary. She sat in a high-backed padded bar stool, had blue hair, smoked long brown cigarettes, and was drinking wine coolers as she surveyed the proceedings. I asked her if she was THE Mary from years ago and she nodded in the affirmative. Believe it or not, the food spread was to die for and was obviously laid out by someone who knew how to do food. We had a blast. I played keyboard in those days and whenever we played Bob Seger's "Turn The Page," I would play the opening saxophone figure on the synthesizer and no matter what honkey-tonk or juke-joint we played, the crowd would always erupt into a loud raucous cheer upon hearing the faux sax. The Ole Place was no different. Very vague memories of the supper club, but a very fine memory of that New Year's Eve party. I haven't been there since.

    Michael Taylor

    17 Oct 09 at 1:42 am

  5. Wow, that obituary must have cost a fortune. A great one though, thanks to whom ever handed that one in to "The State." When my mother died last year her obituary was a short little paragraph without a photograph and cost over $100.

    Miss Mary certainly did sample from what life has to offer for those willing to take the chances. I had no idea she had been at the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. For all you whipper-snappers out there, it was in the shape of a giant derby hat and a true Los Angeles "celebrity supper club" as all the stars ate there in the heyday of Hollywood movie-making. I did try to talk to Miss Mary about the history of Mary's Celebrity Supper Club when I played the New Year's Eve party mentioned in my above comment, but I got the impression that to her I was just the hired help, and she didn't offer too much. She wasn't rude or haughty, but I think she thought the help shouldn't be fraternizing with the boss. Still, I would rate her party as the best I've ever played. May she rest in peace in that supper club in the sky.

    Thanks for the heads-up Bo.

    Michael Taylor

    29 Dec 09 at 4:34 am

  6. Mary's Supper Club was originally called Mammy's Shanty. It was located adjacent (closer to Beltline) to the present Old Place Club which was opened by Mary's son and a very dear friend of mine, James Phillips, who were both murdered in the parking lot of The Old Place by a known pimp who the guys were trying to run off. Thus the sign one post mentioned. It was a rough place in the mid-80s, but the Dixons thought they would give it a go as a night club. They had been opened for less than a month or two when the men were killed.

    As for Mammy's Shanty--politically incorrect for sure-- the place was where my family often went for Sunday dinner. One of the nicest places in town in the 50s and 60s. "Swanky," my dad would say!

    Becky

    15 Jun 10 at 12:24 am

  7. I remember going to a New Year's Day party at The Celebrity Supper Club in '82. It was great. Free. Just for Mary's friends, and wonderful food.
    I also remember going to the night club. It was an after 2am kind of place. Mary's son Oliver (named, I guess after his grandfather) was the owner and yes, he was murdered in the parking lot, although I never knew any details except that he was shot.

    Marie

    20 Jul 11 at 2:40 pm

  8. I owned a business on Two Notch just down from The Supper Club in the 80's and got to know Oliver pretty good. He was a great guy. I was at the New Years Eve party in 1983/84. Even before then Oliver would take me into the kitchen and show me how they prepared the food. It was very clean and orgainized. I still remember him showing me how they cooked the Prime Rib. The shooting was such a tragedy and waste

    Rick

    1 Apr 12 at 6:56 pm

  9. Miss Mary's supper club was of the type no longer seen these days. Little know fact was that in the 60-70's musical acts (as in big ones at the coliseum big) that came to Columbia frequently went there for private dinners/parties after shows. My grandparents were friends of hers and told me many stories of going there.

    Elizabeth

    31 May 12 at 3:05 pm

  10. I loved going to Mary's Celebrity Supper Club during he 80's! Great Music and the best Prime Rib I've ever eaten. The Cheese stuffed Potatoes were famously good and the sausage biscuits served with the Prime Rib were to die for.

    em

    19 May 13 at 10:23 am

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