The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. This week, museum staff tell us about the history of Keiser’s Kitchen, a local restaurant that’s been serving up good food for 75 years. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
Keiser’s Kitchen has been a part of Lowell for 75 years. That is a lot of food and satisfied customers. In 1945, Frank Keiser built a small restaurant named Keiser’s Kitchen next to his home at 521 West Main. His slogan was “Fast Service for Busy People.” He served up the best burgers and malts.
Frank Keiser died in 1957 and Letha Keiser died in 1982. Frank and Leitha Keiser’s children grew up working at the restaurant. It was no wonder that all three grew up to work in the food business. Daughter Darlene managed the business while son Don managed a restaurant in Los Angeles. Larry worked in the food business in Flint before returning to Lowell and purchasing the restaurant, but later sold it to Darlene, whose daughter-in-law Trudy, widow of her son Blair, is the current owner.
While it started as hamburger and malt shop for teenagers, Keiser’s Kitchen quickly grew into a full service family restaurant and four additions were added. They even boasted of their meat room, where they ground their own hamburger!
In 1971 they advertised renovations and a new décor. The side door awning was also taken down. The announcement was cleverly worded; “remember the awning that used to greet your head as you entered Keiser’s Kitchen through the side entrance?! Well, your headaches are gone!”
Do you remember the collection of clowns in the dining room? Clowns became the décor after Dr. Westcott gave Darlene the first clown. Customers kept gifting her clown sculptures and paintings. Only two original Red Skeleton clown paintings survived the fire; they hang in the back of the west side of today’s restaurant.
On January 13, 1988, a fire in the night completely destroyed the Keiser’s Kitchen restaurant on West Main. Thankfully no one was in the building or injured during the fire. The Keiser family had long since moved, and their house had been torn down to make way for their growing restaurant.
After the fire, Keiser’s Kitchen moved to a new location in the former ‘Showboat Restaurant’ building at 700 East Main, where it is still operating today under the leadership of the third generation of the family.
The Lowell Area Historical Museum has in its collection an ice scraper from Keiser’s Kitchen, 521 West Main Street, and the slogan “food so great you’ll scrape your plate!”
The feature image shows Keisers in the late 1940s (Email and WordPress readers, please visit website to see this photo). The bottom image shows Keisers in 1988 after the fire.