By Jim Raykie
While very little can stand in the way of progress, I was saddened to learn that Chiccarino’s Italian Restaurant will be closing in Hermitage.
Jay Chiccarino’s building as well as others are in the plans to be razed to make way for a Speedway gasoline service plaza.
If the project gets off the ground, two major pieces of history will go the way of the wrecking ball. Chiccarino’s, the former Plantation Restaurant, is one of Hermitage’s oldest establishments. It ceased to be the Plantation when its last owner, Jim Tamber, sold it to Jay, who renamed and expanded the restaurant.
It’s closing will mean Jay’s bowing out of the restaurant business, which has been a part of his family for decades, dating to the former Eagle Grille in Farrell, one of the valley’s most popular restaurants during its heyday.
In addition, the demolition of the former Rex Appliance Store building at South Hermitage and Morefield roads will mean the loss of another historic building.
Generations will remember the building as the former Donnelly’s Golden Dawn, a popular pioneer grocery store in the former Hickory Township. The Plantation, Donnelly’s and the Royal Motel were popular establishments long before the commerical expansion of the Routes 18 and 62 area.
Turning right on red
I have been vacationing in Florida in the summers for nearly 30 years. Florida was one of the early states to approve turning right on red, and I couldn’t wait for Pennsylvania to make it legal.
When used properly, turning right on red can move traffic that would normally be at a standstill, wasting time with no cars in sight for the green light.
Pennsylvania finally got on board, but no sooner was it legalized, more and more “no right on red” signs started popping up.
I fully understand that when sightlines are involved or other dangers posed, turning right on red is forbidden in the interests of motorists as well as pedestrians. But some “no right on red” signs are preposterous.
Turning right on red still requires motorists to come to a full stop, and of course, yield to oncoming traffic. At how many intersections banning right on red have you wasted your time, sitting there, without another vehicle or pedestrian in sight?
Compounding the problem, especially during the hectic days of the holiday season, are motorists seemingly oblivious to turning right on red. They sit at red lights, staring into space, texting or talking, holding up lines of traffic behind them. I’m not shy. I blow my horn and tell them to move out.
Citrus aroma reminder of Christmas
I enjoy the non-commercial aspects of the holiday season. That’s how I was raised, and I have carried all of the good things about a simple Christmas throughout my life.
I enjoy the sights, smells and the sounds in the weeks leading up to Christmas. One would expect that for a guy who grew up in an Italian household with all of the traditions of Christmas in America as well as the “old country.”
One of the aromas that screams Christmas for me is the sweet citrus smell while peeling a tangerine or an orange. The season of Clementines and Cuties -- small, seedless oranges -- is upon us, and their sheer smell is a reminder of Christmases of the past.
I have no idea why that has stayed with me all of these years, but the simple smell of a Clementine takes me to the kitchen table at 1025 Emerson Ave. in Farrell and to the dining room tables of all of the relatives whom we visited throughout our Christmas rounds.
Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org