Just like family
EDDY the chiropractor” is one of the noon- hour regulars at Eddy’s Place, a frozen- in- time diner located at 669 Selkirk Ave. Just don’t ask the North End institution’s chief cook and bottle washer what Teddy’s last name is: Annette Gougeon doesn’t know and frankly, she’s never bothered to ask.
“I can tell you what he orders and where he likes to sit, but that’s about it,” Gougeon says with a laugh.
A few months ago, Gougeon was limping around her openstyle grill, nursing a sore back. Teddy, perched at his usual spot at Eddy’s seven- seat lunch counter, noticed Gougeon was in pain and asked where the ache was coming from, precisely.
The doc looked over his shoulder at the room’s pair of snooker tables — the last remnants of an era when the city’s top pool players would congregate there to shoot stick on five championship Brunswick tables. Teddy briefly considering using one of the tables as a stand- in for a chiropractic bed. But he didn’t want to interrupt the games currently going on.
“I told him we had a freezer in the back office,” Gougeon says. “He helped me up and swear to God, I was as good as new in five minutes.”
OK, so maybe it’s not every place where the owner trusts her customers enough to let them anywhere near her spinal column. But then again, every place isn’t Eddy’s Place.
Eddy was Edward Koranicki. Koranicki died of cancer in 1992, 37 years after he left a job with the CNR to take over a combination barbershop/ pool hall called Al’s.
“Dad was a pretty good pool player,” says Koranicki’s daughter, Tracy Konopada, who figures her father changed the name from Al’s to Eddy’s some time in the mid-’ 60s. “In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for Dad to stop in the middle of a haircut if it was his turn to shoot. ‘ I’ll be right back,’ he’d say and away he’d go.”
Nowadays, Konopada is the owner of Luda’s Deli, an iconic lunch nook in its own right. Konopada started working at Eddy’s Place in 1970 when she was 12, around the same time her father’s second wife, Marie, introduced food to the mix in a bid to feed the sharks who popped into Eddy’s day and night. ( The last major renovation occurred in 1977: that’s when three pool tables were removed to make way for a slate of moulded, orange and brown booths.)
Konopada laughs when asked if toiling in a male- dominated, pool hall provided her with a different type of education than the one she was getting at Aberdeen Junior High School.
“Ha, I was the one who could never get into trouble,” says Konopada. “Any time I did something wrong, the guys in the neighbourhood would report it back to my father.”
Gougeon was Koranicki’s sister- in- law. She got on at Eddy’s in 1982, after Konopada sprained her ankle.
“My sister ( Marie) asked if I could come and help out until Tracy was back on her feet again,” Gougeon says. “I’d never