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  1. #1

    Default Farewell MIKE FINK

    WCPO-TV, Channel 9, in Cincinnati just reported that Covington's MIKE FINK Restaurant is to leave its landing at the foot of Greenup Street sometime soon. Where she is headed was not given.

    The FINK was built at Dravo Shipyard as the JOHN W. HUBBARD for the Campbell Transportation Co. in 1936. She was sold along with her sister CHARLES T. CAMPBELL to the Ohio River Company during 1947. Her name was changed thereafter to the CHARLES DORRANCE. The OMAR was also a sister. All three had Marietta Piston Poppet Valve Engines made mechanically correct at Pt. Pleasant, W.VA. Capt. John Beatty entered the DORRANCE in the restaurant trade several owners after the Ohio River Co. got rid of her.

  2. #2
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    Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the update Frank. I have had the MIKE FINK on my "to do" list for a future old boat column for The Waterways Journal.

  3. #3
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    Default Sorry to read that

    It isn't a surprise after it has been closed so long. I thought the business was pretty good, but I suppose with the extra expenses a land-based restaurant doesn't have, it needed more business to 'stay afloat'. I always enjoyed the dining experience there and the great view of the city across the river. Probably the most memorable time I remember was Keith, Jane, Dale, and I eating there after Dorothea Frye's 'funeral', and planning a real funeral/tribute for her which she deserved. I'm surprised we didn't set off the smoke alarms, we were fuming so much after that faux 'funeral'. But the plan we hatched there at MIKE FINKs came to fruition in Marietta and Dorothea was given a real river sendoff. Hard to believe that was 13 years ago!

  4. #4
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    Default

    *Future of the MIKE FINK*
    Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
    There are some days when you get one report of bad news after another with yesterday and today being two such. Again, the 'whatever' going on with the MIKE FINK, as Frank initially reports above, no real shock or surprise. There was some activity going on aboard her with painting and other work but then...?

    Judy is right on the money RE: "...extra expenses a land-based restaurant doesn't have." Weather and river conditions now-and-then closed the FINK down from days to even weeks. The work done on her hull also had her away from Covington a considerable length of time. When finally returned, that and other interior work inside ran her budget up and up. As stated in previous postings on steamboat/river theme restaurants, the dip in the economy, changing eating habits hit her hard. Once patrons stop patronizing they usually never return; this one of the rules of any restaurant/bar business.

    Judy jolted my dismal brain remembering the group of us who ate there following the funeral for Dorothea Frye that bitterly cold but brilliantly bright winter day.

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

  5. #5
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    Default

    I guess Cincinnati Local 12 News didn't cover this story, or I missed it. Thanks for passing it along. Sorry to see it go. I didn't see it advertised for sale in any of the usual publications.

  6. #6

    Default

    Today's Enquirer further reports that the Bernstein family eventually hopes to return the boat to her Covington landing. Apparently, the FINK has not been sold, but is going to be laid up at some unspecified site for at least the immediate future.

    Living only a couple of blocks away, I hope her hiatus is short lived, and she returns in quick order. The FINK certainly was an asset to the neighborhood while she was here. I miss walking down to her and being able to order a delicious hot lunch for under $10.00!

  7. #7
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    Default

    Memory is kinda dim, but we moored MISSIE there a couple of times for lunch and ate there during Tall Stacks. I've started steamboat races with my cannon off her docks. One wonders where the Covington Fire Dept will dock their fire boat when she's gone?? This summer when steaming past in MISS BLUE, we saw the fire dept doing their periodic testing of their fire boat. In October 2008, when saying goodbye to the DELTA QUEEN, John Fryant and I steamed by the FINK in MISSIE and opined at the time that it did not look like they would be ready for the next season's opening. She's remained cold since. If I remember correctly, she had then (2008) recently come back from getting a new hull. Cap'n Walnut.

  8. #8
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    Default

    *MIKE FINK in CINCINNATI ENQUIRER*
    Steamboating colleagues:
    Frank Prudent is on the money [No pun intended] RE: the great "$10 lunches on the MIKE FINK" during her former days of operation in Covington, KY. Frank one of a number of us on this web who remember the fine MOR meetings held several times aboard the FINK in the upper deck area enclosed with glass giving a perfect view of Cincinnati's buildings and lights across the river. Those were big dinner/program affairs with a large crowd attending going up the stern gangway or via the lower interior deck spaces. Frank's immediate residential area in Covington a classic in rebirth with wonderful historical architecture, views of the river totally astounding. Our Cincinnati tax dollars have been well spent on this side of the river giving northern Kentuckians some great skyline views. Meow...Meow.

    Frank, do you recall the night when we all viewed those incredible color 35 mm. slides somebody took of the explosion/burning of the last ISLAND QUEEN, September, 1947? From the moment of the initial explosion to her burning with many of the IQ survivors seen swimming the the water for rescue with later DELTA QUEEN Capt. Earnie Wagner among them. The photographer happened to be in the immediate area and quickly turned his camera on the unfolding disaster. I remember Mrs. Letha Greene, engineer Charlie Dietz and wife Claudia there with us. I'd give a pretty to know what ever happened to those slides. Ben Bernstein and wife Shirley hosted us with Shirley coming around with an additional big basket of treats as a second dessert. The FINK also had a great seafood bar with shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, prawns etc. on ice.

    The CINCINNATI ENQUIRER article of Wednesday, October 30, 2013, written by Dave Malaska, Frank referenced well done with additional details and projections. I'm carefully typing in the access here and, if we're lucky, it should open to read the entire text. Access: news.cincinnati.com/article.../310290107/Mike-Fink-restaurant-must...

    Give it a whirl and see if you can find the article.

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

  9. #9

    Default

    I noted today, 18 November 2013, that the stage for the MIKE FINK has been unshipped and docks and dining barge that were alongside have been moved. I guess the "Old Girl" will be leaving her long time landing shortly. Since it's currently 1648 EST and there's a good breeze blowing, my guess is that by this time tomorrow she'll be at a new and hopefully temporary home.

  10. #10
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    Default Karl Smith's River Photography

    Dale: Perhaps you are referring to some other images, but I do recall some fabulous (and terrifying) pictures of the ISLAND QUEEN ablaze, shared at the MOR dinner meeting aboard the MIKE FINK in 1977 by Mr. Karl Smith. He was a photographer par excellence and had earlier shown those duplicated slides at the 1972 S&D meeting. Now long deceased, I am not positive, but thought his collection went to the Cincinnati Historical Society.

    I corresponded and exchanged Christmas cards with Karl Smith for some years and he sent me some of his excellent river pictures, including a dramatic scene of the GORDON C. GREENE in the snow. Another was of the steam towboat RENOWN (later the wharfboat for the BELLE of LOUISVILLE) passing the ISLAND QUEEN in the Cincinnati harbor. Several of these are prime candidates for my Old Boat Column in The Waterways Journal!

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