Pickle Dip Anyone?

Published in the 2014 Stereoscope

“Pickle Dip Anyone?” by Deanna Ostgren

Yes that was the top of the bun dipped in the hamburger grease; a favorite of many customers of the Hamburger Inn in Holdrege, Nebraska.In 1935, Paul Anderson purchased the Black and White Café from Ed Nichols at 416 West Ave and renamed it the Hamburger Inn. Then hamburgers sold for 5 cents, but by 1950, they were 15 cents. They also served delicious homemade pies. The chief bakers were Pearl Anderson, Doris Fries and Evelyn Bendorf.Paul and Pearl operated the café until the end of WWII when Paul’s brother, Wes returned from the war and they formed a partnership. Later Wes left to open his own café, Lucky Grill in Holdrege on 4th and Grant streets.In 1950, a new brick building 25 feet x 60 feet was constructed by C. A. Christensen and Perry Lumber. The outside walls were constructed while the old building was still in place. It was equipped with a stainless steel back bar which was washed with carbonated water twice a day. Since all four of us children, Deanna, Paulette, Marlene and Arlen, all worked there we have decided that is why we don’t care for stainless appliances today.There were stools to seat 22 persons at the counter to eat. There were no tables as Dad felt too many would linger and he wanted the serving to move faster.We could fry 12-15 hamburgers at a time in their own grease so they were never dry like on a dry grill. Hamburger was fresh everyday form O. P. Skaggs grocery store. Usually started with 30 pounds of hamburger and using an ice cream scoop so they were uniform in size, placed in a stainless pan and refrigerated. If there were special activities going on in town, we would roll more hamburgers after lunch, usually 20-30 pounds more at a time.Homemade Chili and Vegetable soups were made fresh every day and sometimes several times a day. A popular item was a chili burger where the bun was open on a plate with two patties of meat and covered with chili. Yum, yum.In the new building Sehnert Bakery furnished the buns, sweet rolls and pies. They were a wonderful bakery. I remember some times when we would close at midnight, Dad and I would go to the bakery and watch the bakers working there. There was a soft serve ice cream machine which was great for the pie al-a-mode and the many milk shakes we serviced.Dad invented and made the “Peg System.” It was a wedged shaped board covered with metal and holes numbered from 5 cents to $1. When we took an order we did not write anything, we called in the order and placed the peg which was on a chain into the hole telling what was owed. Each stool had a peg. The system was mounted to the counter. Dad had a terrific memory and system for keeping orders straight.I especially remember the nights of athletic events when the out of town coaches would call us in the afternoon and say they wanted 40 hamburgers and milk shakes to go after the game for the students riding the bus.With the Sun Theater being across the street a lot of people came for a snack after the movie as we were open until 11:30 or 12:00. My sis remembers having roller skating parties with her friends in the basement.It was a family operation and we had a lot of good, faithful help.Dad and Mom retired in November of 1974 after 40 years of serving the public.It was probably the first “fast food” café in Holdrege. Many wonderful memories.–end

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