They have a complete history of the placed printed on the menus. The condensed version is: Earl Abel was a organist for silent films…having once shared top billing with Rudy Vallee, Charlie Chaplin and Bing Crosby, the advent of “talkies” required he find a new means of support. In 1933 he opened his first restaurant in a small house on Main Street. Being in the mist of the Great Depression he had to use his entertainer skills to draw people in. Being before the days of mass air conditioning, he moved the restaurant outside calling it “The Garden of Eatin ” Then he offered a joke for every 5¢ beer that was sold…pretty soon his jokes and stories attracted as many customers as the ‘great food’. When “Adventures In Good Eating” by Duncan Hines featured Earl Abel’s, everything took off…he expanded to six location (including one in California) with the Broadway/Hildebrand location being built in 1940. The labor shortage during WWII caused all but the one location to close.
My meal was so big, I forgot I wanted to try the fried pickles...I did take a piece of German chocolate cake to go (it took me three days to finish it).