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Pieces of the Past: LUM’S

July 26, 2023

Restaurants come and go. Chains like Red Barn, Roy Rogers, Tastee Freeze or locals like The Chalet, V and J or Dagwood’s close their doors for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes “can’t miss” places just don’t make it. My favorite one of those was on West 3rd in Jamestown.

This place was known for ice cold apple juice in a frosted mug and really good hot dogs. LUM’S was unique and was one of those places I liked enough to drive 30 miles to visit. Do you remember it?

Interesting thing about LUM’S was that its founder was CEO of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Clifford Perlman had two other businesses. One was a wholesale distribution company that provided LUM’S with about 25% of its meats.

Can’t miss right?

By the 70s there were over 350 LUM’S restaurants in all states, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Perlman decided to literally buy Caesar’s Palace and needed the money. He sold all three of his companies in 1971. John Brown, who happened to be a big wig with Kentucky Fried Chicken, bought LUM’S.

It didn’t take long before Kentucky Fried Chicken’s CEO had issues with Brown competing with KFC. KFC’s CEO was a guy named Dave Thomas. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He had a stepdaughter named Wendy!

Problems getting meats without owning the wholesale supplier and LUM’S’ menu and format lending itself more with fair weather killed the Jamestown location. LUM’S on a national scale closed half their locations, mainly in the northeast hoping to keep it going. Needless to say Brown didn’t have the strength that Clifford Perlman did and the last LUM’S closed its doors in Florida by the end of the 70s. Perlman passed away in 2016.

There have been several restaurants in LUM’S’ Jamestown location. Today an Italian restaurant is there.


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