Forbes and Wallace of Springfield was formed in 1921 through the merger of Forbes Dry Goods (est. 1865) and Wallace’s, which was formerly known as Wallace’s Mercantile Co. (est. 1885.) For years it was Springfield’s premier downtown retailer, and many generations of children still remember the bright Christmas displays, the bustling ground floor with its high ceiling and mezzanine. The “Top o’ the Town” was a place where ladies of leisure met for long elegant lunches, and the Meridian was a noisy cafeteria in the basement, next to the sales merchandise. The smell from the grill permeated the entire floor, and the instant you started down the steps you wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and a Coke.

Forbes and Wallace was bought by Costington’s in 1989.

Okay, I made all of that up. Could be true, though.

Department store restaurants are a dying species, I fear, just as independent downtown department stores are on their way out. Targets and Wal-Marts have eateries, yes, but they're usually a grim, harshly lit pen that serves treadmill hot dogs and dry, oversized pretzels.