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August 28, 2001

In those recent columns about some local restaurants of days gone by, I named just a few of them. Many readers remember several more in addition to those I listed. Through the years, Perry diners have enjoyed a large number of eating places with cuisines that ranged from so-so to pretty darned good. In many cases, the good-natured and colorful proprietors were as important an ingredient as the quality of the food they served, and I named a few of those. Just in case one of your favorites was overlooked, here’s a little bit about several that can be added to the list. Even so, there probably are others that I have not thought of. Perhaps your personal choice was not previously included. To correct that oversight and to make the point that our town has been privileged to enjoy some pretty fair eateries, here are the additions in alphabetical order:

The Auto Eat Café, operated by Speck and Stella Roads at 402 Sixth street, right next door to the Scott Chevrolet dealership (present location of the Exchange Bank & Trust) on the northeast corner of the square; Guy Babcock’s Babcock Café at 302 Sixth street, next door to the First National Bank on the east side of the square; Grover Haga’s Corner Lunch at 123 Seventh street, a block south of the south side of the square; Helen Folan’s Folan’s Café on the north side, 619 Delaware; E.V. Hunt’s La Fonda Café on the south side at 525 Cedar.

The Seventy-Seven Drive-In Café, operated by Daisy Cain on the south side of the Cain Hotel, at Sixth and Fir; the Temple Lunch, operated by Leo and Helen Robinson at 709 Delaware, right behind the Fred A. Davis & Son Furniture Store, present location of the First Bank & Trust; the U.S. Café at 638 Cedar on the south side of the square, operated by Ted Workman; the West Side Café, on the west side of the square, of course, at 307 Seventh, operated by Wilbur Huffington; and the Whiteway Café at 407 Sixth street, operated by Virgil Walkling as part of the Whiteway Hotel, also operated by Mr.Walkling.

I’ve relied heavily on the 1940 Perry City Directory for some of the information in this list, and I hope it is fairly complete. If you have a favorite that has not been mentioned, let us hear from you. In the meantime, go enjoy some of the delicacies being served up by today’s Perry cafes.

Virginia Eggers has provided a menu from Myers’4-Way Café, which once did business at Bill’s Corner, 12 miles east of Perry, when the corner was a busy bus stop, among other things. The breakfast menu at the 4-Way offered doughnuts at a nickel each, French toast at 35 cents, fruit juice at 15 cents, or dry cereal at 30 cents. You could have juice, two eggs, with toast, jelly and coffee for 60 cents, or bacon and coffee at 70 cents. Two hot cakes with one egg, two strips of bacon and coffee were only 70 cents, or you could have an egg, a pork chop, toast, jelly and coffee, also for 70 cents. The menu advised patrons, “If you like our food, tell others. If not, tell us.”