Posted: Sep 29, 2006 7:32 pm
Got hit by a car....in the paper today. Sorry if this has already been posted....I been out of the loop for a few days.
Owner of Harry's Detour killed by car
A.J. Wolfe/The Commercial Appeal
Beloved restaurateur Harry Nicholas overcame adversity to celebrate his comeback in the local eatery scene.
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By Pamela Perkins
September 29, 2006
Harry Nicholas was a beloved restaurateur whose life was as adventurous and his heart as warm as the fare at his establishments.
Mr. Nicholas, chef and co-owner of Harry's Detour, was struck by a car late Saturday and died early Thursday at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He was 54.
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Wilson Chapel at Christ United Methodist Church. Memorial Park Funeral Home has charge.
The accident is under investigation, said Memphis traffic Maj. Ray Hopkins.
But preliminary findings indicate Mr. Nicholas was walking across Poplar near Auburndale when he was struck by an eastbound 1993 Subaru. Witnesses told police that the area was dimly lit. No one has been charged.
Mr. Nicholas is known for the unusual but harmonious concoctions at his restaurants. He called his style "American eclectic," influenced by many of the 70 restaurants he worked at during his travels across the nation.
His dishes reflected his personality, said restaurant co-owner and friend Charles Gross.
"Harry was truly creative. You know how they say when Mozart used to write music, it was all done in his head? ... When Harry would create a recipe it was the same way. There wasn't any trial and error. When it was done in his head it was done," Gross said.
He battled alcoholism and an arthritic disorder from which he recovered before opening Harry's On Teur in 1989. It was in business for about six years.
In March 1998, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for stabbing a neighbor during an altercation a couple of years earlier. He ran out of money and spent 16 months in jail, where he went through a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.
"You can't really regret that stuff 'cause it all had to get you to where you are," Mr. Nicholas once told The Commercial Appeal. "I think God has a plan for all of us."
He was released in September 1999 and joined a Bible study group the next day. And he made a comeback.
He opened Harry's Detour on Cooper in 2001 to phenomenal success and another Harry's Detour on South Main in 2002.
Friends and family said they will miss his tender heart. "From childhood, he just had a special place for people in need, the innocent," said his brother Martin Nicholas of Sugarland, Texas.
Mr. Nicholas also leaves two sisters, Joan Nicholas of Memphis and Nancy Howell of Pascagoula, Miss.
The family requests that any memorials be sent to the Church Health Center or a charity of the donor's choice.