CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

BILL'S CAFE
2079 Federal Street

Bill's Cafe was founded in the late 1930s by William Grams, and operated at 2079 Federal Street through at least 1947.

Tom Agin, who grew up on nearby Cooper Street recalls the following:

Prior to 1938 or 39 there were only three businesses between State Street and 21st Street on Federal. On the State Street corner was the Black Cat  Diner. It sat far back on a large lot bordered by Federal,State and Stewart St. 

Then  a large building which was Glitsch's Butcher Shop. I remember it well . It had inches of saw dust on the floor and carcasses hanging around on hooks and some big butcher block tables. It was never a bar during Glitch's tenure that I know of. 

Attached to Glitches on the 21st Street Side was a small building no larger than a one car garage. This small shack was Bill Grams  Tobacco ,Soda and News Stand. This was back when if you were sent for the Courier Post you had to specify which one [Morning Post or Evening Courier- ed.]. I seem to remember the Evening Courier had a pink front page.

Between Grams and the corner of 21st Street was a two story high billboard that I used to climb. All of a sudden the butcher shop became a bar, and Bill Gram was the owner. During the war the bartender was Charley Kane.

Although a saloon was operated by John Benge at the corner of 21st and Federal Streets in the 1880 and 1890s, it appears that the was no relation between that business and the one being discussed here.

Conrad Glitsch came to America from Germany around 1890. By 1919 he was operating a  store, and living with wife Bertha and their children at 37 North 21st Street. 

Bill's Cafe had a liquor license by June of 1939. Both Conrad Glitsch and William Grams are listed as being involved in the tavern at 2079 Federal Street in the 1940 Camden City Directory. Conrad Glitsch is not so listed in the 1943 and 1947 Directories. Conrad Glitsch and Bertha Glitsch were both still alive as of 1947 at the North 21st address according to the 1947 Directory, he would have been past 80 by then. 

William Grams appears to have been born in Pennsylvania around 1882. He had moved to Camden by April of 1930. Interestingly enough, in June of 1933 he obtained a wholesale beer license for 2101 Federal Street. The 1947 Directory shows him as living at 3041 Carman Street in East Camden.

By 1954 the bar was known as the Cross Road Tavern, and it traded under that name through at least the fall of 1966. It was known as Stetser's Tavern in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

2079 Federal Street was razed around 1982. A building was erected in its spot, that was an add-on to a building then occupied by the Guaranteed Brake Parts Company, which manufactured automobile brake pads and shoes from the 1960s through the late 80s or early 90s .

Drink Up!
The Bars, Taverns, and Clubs of Camden

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