Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sveden House – or is it Sweden House? Part 1

I received an email a few weeks ago from a gentleman with a question about a local smorgasbord (or borgasmord, if you're Mason Reese) restaurant. As a result, I ended up compiling a rough timeline of Sveden House, which was located on Griswold Road near Midway Mall.

A nice history of Sveden House was published in the Waterloo Courier of November 4, 1974. It read, "The Sveden House Smorgasbord began as a single unit in Duluth. Minnesota, in a restaurant operation known then as the "Plaza Dining Room." It was a full service restaurant that also had a short buffet line incorporated into its operation. In spite of good management, however, the operation was going bankrupt in the very difficult winter months in Duluth. The owner operators of the unit, in desperation, after an all night "Prayer" meeting, decided the next day to change the operation into a strictly "One low price, all you care to eat "Smorgasbord" style unit. It was their desire to serve the whole "family unit" delicious food at a lower reasonable price and thereby generate enough volume to also make the unit profitable.

Vintage postcard
"The change in the total business was almost "over-night" and quite dramatic. From a condition of near bankruptcy, to a profit month in the middle of winter, in Duluth, became a reality in spite of it being thought impossible. After about a year of further refining and developing the operation, it was decided upon to open a like unit in Minneapolis and give it a try. It was from the fantastic success there also that it blossomed into the nationally enfranchised chain that it is today."

It's interesting that you can find vintage photos and postcards of restaurants in the chain with both the name spelled both Sveden and Sweden House.

Here's a fairly common postcard that was used to advertise the national chain (below).

Vintage postcard

Sveden House opened near Midway Mall in Elyria in the fall of 1972. It was still running ads in the classified section of the newspaper for head cooks and waitresses in late October (below).

October 22, 1972 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
It did open in time for Thanksgiving 1972. The below ad ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on November 16.
Its first appearance in the Lorain phone book was consequently the 1973-74 edition (below).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the jarring memory of the most homeliest child actor EVER.

Was going to ask what is there now but see we have to wait for part 2......