Knotty Pine Cafe

Written By: nppladmin - Jan• 13•22
Originally published on Facebook December 24, 2021.

This week’s Facebook Friday history remembers a café on the Lincoln Highway called the Knotty Pine Café!

In 1948 Claude Lentfoehr and his wife Esther came to North Platte from Wisconsin and built a new restaurant. The new dinette they built was located at 1200 Rodeo Road which was right on the Lincoln Highway.

On December 15, 1948, they advertised in the North Platte Daily Telegraph that they wanted the public to name their new “dinette”. The winner who came up with the best name for their café would win $15.00 in cash. The advertisement stated that the new café would feature home cooked short orders, sandwiches and chili. On December 29th the paper announced that Mrs. C. D. Kaufman was the winner of the contest with the name of, “Knotty Pine Café”.

On April 1, 1949, the newspaper announced the grand opening of the café would be held on April 3rd and they would be serving free ice cream, cigars and balloons. The new café was to be opened 24 hours a day-7 days a week. They offered McCanns homemade ice cream. The menu featured chili, fried chicken, steaks, a wide variety of sandwiches and homemade pie. And, curb service was also available during certain times.

Shortly after opening the Lentfoehr’s sold the business to Lester and Helene Gunderson. Mr. Lentfoehr moved to Colorado and Mrs. Lentfoehr went to work at the Telegraph-Bulletin office. The Lentfoehr’s divorced in 1951.

The Gunderson’s ran the café at the Knotty Pine until 1963 when it was renamed Gundy’s Café. In 1964, the North Platte City Directory was calling the café “Gundy’s Pancake Kitchen Restaurant”. They were in business for a short time and in 1965 the building was sold to Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut stayed in the building until 1971 when they built their new building on South Jeffers and moved.

In 1972 the City Directory showed the building as “Little Tony’s Italian Food and Pizza”. The next two years the directories showed the building as vacant.

In 1975 the building had Tagge Family Restaurant in it. In 1976 the building was vacant again.

Then in 1977 the building got a new business calling it home. The Kirby Company moved in and stayed the longest. They sold vacuums there until 2009.

It is not known what the building is being used for now, but researchers suspect it is a private residence or unoccupied. But many local citizens still remember the “Knotty Pine Cafe”.

See you here next week for more North Platte History!

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