Enquirer: Old Spaghetti Factory
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Auction draws souvenir-hungry crowd
BY KYM LIEBLER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
From pasta bowls to its famous trolley car, the Old Spaghetti Factory was auctioned off item by item Saturday to a sentimental crowd willing to pay for a piece of a landmark.
More than 500 bidders lined up outside the shuttered restaurant on West Pete Rose Way for the 10 a.m. ''everything must go'' public auction that lasted into the evening.
To many, the auction symbolized the end of one era and the onset of another as Hamilton County bulldozesalong Pete Rose Way to make room for the new Paul Brown Stadium. The Old Spaghetti Factory closed Valentine's Day after 20 years in business.
Others viewed the auction as a chance to decorate their homes and businesses with European antiques, colorful lampshades and ornate chandeliers for a reasonable price.
John Gilliam took a break from moving into his new home in Newport's Mansion Hill neighborhood to buy a brass chandelier for his 20-foot high foyer.
''I used to bring my kids here and I came down here to buy something,'' he said after winning the chandelier with a bid of $475. ''Now, I just have to tell my wife.''
With no minimum prices on the 489 items, auctioneer Bryan Worley threw out an opening price and let the crowd decide whether it was high or low. He started in the kitchen where salad servers, milk dispensers, scales and griddles sold for under $100.
The crowd waited expectantly to hear the winning bid on the restaurant's famous green and yellow trolley car. Jay Harbin, of Dayton, bought the trolley for $2,200.
''I'm a big Reds fan, a big Bengals fan,'' said Mr. Harbin, 34, who owns Upper Deck in Dayton and Laffs in Germantown. He hasn't decided what to do with his purchase.
''Chances are 50-50 I put it in the restaurant or donate it to the city.''
Penny Worley, who owns Worley's Auctioneers & Appraisers with her husband, Bryan, estimated all the items would sell for a total of $50,000to $100,000.
People who bought parts of the building, such as its walls and wooden floors, have to extract the items before March 14. ''After that,'' Mr. Worley warned, the county's ''bringing in the wrecking ball.''