Eastern Behavioral Health Center bought the property because it adjoins the center's headquarters.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
STRUTHERS -- A handful of neighbors scurried around the heap of twisted steel beams, concrete block and other rubble that once was the Silver Mirror restaurant just after noon Thursday, searching for keepsake pieces of the building.
The demolition crew from Parisi Excavating Group, Boardman, started tearing the building down around 8:45 a.m. and by noon, all that remained standing was the side door and entranceway.
Fifteen years ago, the landmark restaurant was the regular stomping ground for the families of children who played in the softball league, recalled one neighbor.
"We used to eat here all the time," she said. "My daughter was 18 then; she's 33 now."
The woman, who declined to give her name, spent an hour and a half shooting two rolls of film while the building came down. "I got here too late," she lamented. "I missed the beginning."
"I have it all on videotape if you want to see it," another neighbor offered.
"Do you? Can you make me a copy, and I'll pay you for it?"
"I would, but I don't have two VCRs," the man said.
He moved to the neighborhood in December and never visited The Silver Mirror before the restaurant closed. "It was before my time," he said, "but it was a landmark."
"We moved here in 1957 and it was here then," the woman said before walking back to her house, a sand-colored brick from the restaurant wall cradled in her arm.
"When my dad passed away, we had the family dinner here, and the food was good," said Andrew Zecher of Youngstown.
He and his 13-year-old nephew, Tony Flasck, of Struthers, surveyed the pile of rubble from the parking lot of a nearby convenience store.
"We ate here a lot. I liked the fish," he said.
"I loved the cheeseburgers," his nephew added, before running across the parking lot to grab a loose brick separated from the heap.
Eastern Behavioral Health Center, 420 Youngstown-Poland Road, bought The Silver Mirror property in May 2001 because it adjoins the mental health center's headquarters, said Ann Zedaker, administrative director.
"We knew if we ever wanted to expand, that is the direction we'd have to go."
There are no plans to expand at the moment, she said, but Eastern Behavioral Health and Parkview Counseling Center Inc., Youngstown, are planning to merge Nov. 1. It is possible that plans to expand could follow that merger.
If nothing else, demolition of the vacant building eliminates an eyesore and provides additional parking for employees and patients of the mental health center.
Work was expected to continue today to remove the debris.