If you’ve lived in Upper Arlington, Ohio at any time since 1955, you’ve probably been to the Chef-O-Nette. It’s one of those ageless, unchanging places that make you hope that maybe you haven’t changed much, either.
I first went to the Chef-O-Nette in the early ’70s, right after our family first moved to Upper Arlington. It looked pretty much the same as it does now, with the ’50s lighting fixtures and the bolted down, rotating stools and the sunburst clock. I’m guessing that the look of the place in the early ’70s was pretty much the same as it looked when it first opened in 1955, and established itself as the anchor at one end of the Tremont Shopping Center. It hasn’t changed, and no one really wants it to change.
The menu hasn’t changed much, either, in the 40 years since I first visited the Chef-O-Nette. That’s a good thing, too. There are still the same burgers and diner food and milkshakes and french fries and hangover sandwich. For all I know, it also may have the same ageless waitresses who first served me when I was a student at Upper Arlington High School, 40 years ago.
The Chef-O-Nette is one of those places that make a suburb into a community. You see the same people there, and that’s a comfortable feeling. It’s a good place to meet a friend for a cup of coffee or to have some hot chocolate after sledding at the OSU golf course. When Richard and Kish and I went there for lunch yesterday, it was like slipping on an old slipper that fits like a glove.