Grandpa John's Cafe
Back in the fall, Don and I spent some time wandering around the small town of Nauvoo.
The town once had a longer name, Quashquema. But the Mormons bought the riverside town in 1839 and changed the name. Don and I decided we needed a little food to sit and absorb this history. We spotted Grandpa John's and gave it a try.
How could we resist a cafe that seemed to merge with an old movie theatre? And the name Grandpa John's was pretty homey. Plus, the red letters on the marquee invited a little chuckle. NOW SHOWING LORD OF THE ONION RINGS! My kind of corny, food humor.
Hopping with Locals
At noon the place was busy with local diners, moving along the buffet line. There were a few large community tables, one of which was filled with a family of 10. I guessed that was a Mormon family and I began to wonder how many of the 1,000+ residents are Mormon. I did see some Coke being served, so maybe not all!
Don and I could have boldly joined others at a large table, but how could we resist the cute wooden booths. I'm guessing these might be original from when the cafe opened in 1918 as Kraus Cafe and Confectionary.
I went for the buffet, which gave an option of All You Can Eat, or One Main Course & 2 Sides. Since my clothes always get tight on a road trip, I went for the lesser. I kind of enjoyed my meatloaf with corn casserole, salad and potato bread! Don's tuna salad was pretty decent as well. Why didn't we go all out and have...
...Ice Cream or Beer?
We should have ordered ice cream or beer, in honor of John A. Kraus, the original owner. He came to Nauvoo as a business man in 1912, making cigars. He ended up making ice cream, using cream from local cows and ice from the Mississippi River. After opening the cafe, he got a liquor and beer license and brought in some billiard tables. The movie theatre (behind the left side of the cafe) didn't go in until 1950.
In 1987 the cafe changed its name to Grandpa John's Cafe, after the original owner. It wasn't clear to me if family still owns this little restaurant, but I did hear a grandpa story from a woman who worked at the cafe.
She told me that when she was a little girl, her grandpa took her to the cafe and they sat on the stools so she could have ice cream. She laughed to let me know her grandpa didn't have ice cream. He had a little beer instead. She said the movie theatre still opens for special shows at Christmas and Halloween.
What a fun step back in time.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.