Restaurateur 'Mickey' Kreitner dies at age 80
By WARREN DUZAK
One of Nashville's most prolific restaurateurs has died.
Albert Joseph ''Mickey'' Kreitner, 80, died Thursday at Saint Thomas Hospital from complications after open heart surgery.
''He was a great fellow and an honorable person,'' Judge Gilbert Merritt said of Mr. Kreitner, who owned several Nashville restaurants but was probably best known for The Captain's Table in Printers Alley.
Mr. Kreitner did not set out to be in the restaurant business; baseball was his first love.
He started as a batboy for the Nashville Vols minor-league baseball team and earned a tryout with the Chicago Cubs. That landed him a professional baseball contract as a catcher with the club. He played his first game in September of 1943 but had to end his career after the 1944 season because of injury, family and friends said.
Mr. Kreitner turned his attention to the restaurant business and opened 39 establishments during the next 43 years. Some of the notables: The Court of Kings, The Luau, The Embers, Mickey's and Mickey's Jr., an oyster bar and delicatessen that opened in the old Maxwell House hotel only 11 days before the 1961 Christmas Day fire there.
''He met a lot of people through The Captain's Table,'' sister-in-law Dody Belcher said.
On his 55th birthday, The Captain's Table birthday celebration for its owner attracted several celebrities and baseball greats including Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle, Belcher said.
''It was just a great time for some of the baseball favorites.''
But it was in a different setting that Judge Merritt met Mr. Kreitner. During a trial on local corruption 35 years ago, Mr. Kreitner was called to testify, and Merritt took an immediate liking to him.
''He was a wonderful witness,'' Merritt said.
In 1989, Mr. Kreitner sold The Captain's Table, his last restaurant.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. today at Spring Hill Funeral Home.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Edna, and a daughter, Rebecca.