Eleanor Widmer reviewed restaurants for the Reader from 1974 through 2000.
She wrote occasional feature stories, the most notable of which was "Slow Fall from Foxhill" (an interview with Michael Copley). Widmer was hitchhiking on Mt. Soledad and was picked up by Michael, James Copley's son from a previous marriage, who was suing Helen Copley, then-owner of the San Diego Union.
Widmer wrote a notable story about John Vietor, founder of San Diego Magazine: "Mr. Jello Will See You Now."
After Widmer died in 2005, fellow Reader writer Jeannette DeWyze wrote a cover story about Widmer titled The Late Long-time Queen of Cafe Critics.
Widmer's novel about an immigrant family, Up from Orchard Street was published in March, 2006.
Editor's picks of Widmer's Reader stories:
“Del Mar in the old days was a vacation racetrack. We all knew each other, all the jockeys, all the owners. The celebrities, like Crosby or Durante or Desi Arnaz, we were all down here to relax and have fun. We went to the beach together, partied together. We’d drink, we’d dance, we’d stay up all night and never feel it. Every night, someone else gave a party, and all the people came. There was no difference if you were a jockey, an owner, or a movie star." (Sept. 22, 1994)
San Diego buzzed with talk of T-groups (training groups), sensitivity training, encounter-group workshops held for Navy personnel, young executives, college professors. In time, the entire state and beyond seemed tuned to the vibrations emanating from the Silverado Street buildings where Rogers and his colleagues were introducing new techniques to better living. It was surely an improvement to say “I feel” rather than “I think,” and “I can relate” rather than “I believe. ” (Aug. 9, 1979)
While we have been talking, the sun has been relentless, but Jack remains impervious to my discomfort in my heavy clothing. At one point, I ask whether I can remove my sweater, and then return from his bathroom with my upper torso draped in a heavy bath towel. Jack blinks into the sun and goes right on talking, telling me about his blind date with Joan Crawford in La Jolla in 1955. (March 15, 1979)
What Art wanted to create at the Halcyon was the Basque-style meal, based not on European notions of “peasant food” but on his own memory of the family-style meals at his grandparents' boarding house. He cooked soups in huge vats, made his own baked beans, served blue cheese and pickled herring for snacks, (Aug. 10, 1978)
They lived in a six-bedroom house in La Jolla with an informal as well as a formal dining room, a large library, and several dens, one of which was known as “the children's den.” The name of the house with its imposing grounds was Foxhill, the name of his father was James Copley, and the name of this son who will be thirty years old in December, 1978, is Michael Clifton Copley. (July 6, 1978)
Some 15 years ago, on April 25, 1962, I appeared in a San Diego court room as witness for the defense of Lawrence and Geraldine McGilvery, owners and operators of a La Jolla bookshop, the Nexus. They were on trial for selling obscene material, namely. Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Prior to the arrest, a young police cadet posing as a student had entered the paperback bookstore and insisted that he needed Tropic for a course in journalism. (March 3, 1977)