What do two 1st generation Italian brothers, a rubber chicken, BBQ, & the world's greatest spaghetti maker have in common?
They are all milestones in the wonderful journey of Old Town Tap (aka Smokey Jo's/Jim's/Betty's/Red Room...)
In the early 1950's, Jim & Sam Schrementi opened a bar and kitchen called Jim & Sam's in the old Wood's Hotel building which is now the site of a gas station at Main St & Exchange in Crete. Their friendliness, quick wit, and dedication to their patrons soon won the hearts of the mostly German town folk.
Their "corporate logo" was a dog on point with dice eyes (Jim was an avid hunter & Sam had other interests) which still hangs in the bar today! Everyday after kindergarten would let out, my father Jim would be standing on the corner with his white shirt, black pants & white apron. As my classmates walked home, I would "go to the bar" to help out, serving food & beer on a bar before I could see over it!
In the mid 60's, Sam's interests went north as Jim's went to the south, and, after converting Einhorn's grocery store at Main and Cass into Old Town Tap, Jim & friends quietly rolled the old bar down Main St. into its new home on an early Sunday Morning.
Enter the rubber chicken! Hanging from a wire, with his back up band called the Rinky Dinks who were famous for their sing-alongs, crowds in the hundreds would chant "hit that chicken" and the drummer obliged sending the star swinging!
The early 90's brought us even further south to our present location where Smokey Jo's BBQ was added. After Jim's unexpected passing, my mother Betty traded in her spaghetti spoon to become bar keeper.
For 23 years, she brought warmth, grace, and the same dedication to her patrons, becoming "Mom" to many and friend to even more! After church when Sara & I would gather to talk with our fellow parishioners, our daughters would say "come on dad, we want to go see Grandma at the bar!" We had very understanding Pastors!!!
So whether you are enjoying the new patio or the old bar, it is our sincere hope to bring you and your family great food and good cheer just as Jim & Betty did for so many years! With their cherished memories in my heart and an incredibly dedicated team, Old TownTap continues to be the place "Where Good Friends Meet!"