St. Clair Shores Public Library 22500 Eleven Mile Road, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081-1399 Phone: (586) 771-9020 Fax: (586) 771-8935 Director: Rosemary Orlando
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Ritz Bar
23117 Harper Ave.

The Ritz existed as early as 1941-it’s mentioned in that year’s tax assessment for St. Clair Shores, under the proprietorship of Romaine Couck, a Belgian immigrant. The Couck family owned several area restaurants and bars.

City records list a “Ritz Restaurant” in 1941 on Harper Avenue.  It continues as a restaurant through 1948, under the ownership of Romaine Couck. Local phone books from 1948 through 1957 have a listing for a “Ritz” at 23117 Harper Avenue; it was a restaurant and “recreation center” with 12 “Brunswick alleys” for bowling. It featured air conditioning and “cocktails, dining and atmosphere” according to the ad in the phone book.

By 1957, the bowling alley was open 24 hours. It continued as Ritz Recreation until at least 1965.  Sometime in the next twenty years, it became Shore Crest Lanes, a bowling alley with 32 lanes and parking for 265 cars. Shore Crest Lanes closed in 2008 and the building was demolished in 2011. The address has been home to the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant since 2013.

Romaine Couck was born in Belgium in 1903 and came to the US to live in St. Clair Shores with his brother Achille, who owned “The Ritz” beer garden at 23006 Harper.

That establishment is listed in city records in 1936 for the first time.

The restaurant business was a family affair. The two brothers were joined by a third sibling, Joseph, a farmer, who arrived in the US in 1938 and also began working in the family businesses.

All three Couck brothers registered for the military in World War II, but only Joseph, the youngest, served.  He was in the US Army from August 1941 to December 1945.

Now: Buffalo Wild Wings
Opened: 2013
Owned by: Kent Ward
General Manager: Matt Wagner

Click the images to view high resolution versions.

Ritz Bar c. 1940s
 
The Ritz Supper Club and Bowling in 1957
 
Another view of the Ritz from 1957
Ritz Bar 1940s
 
The Ritz Supper Club and Bowling in 1957
 
Another view of the Ritz from 1957
Buffalo Wild Wings c. 2021
 
Buffalo Wild Wings c. 2021
 
Buffalo Wild Wings 2021
 
Buffalo Wild Wings 2021