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Enjoy dining at Papa's Kenyon Family Restaurant

janet kubat willette

Date Modified: 10/19/2009 3:07 PM

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Papa's Kenyon Family Restaurant

Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Address: 620 Second St, Kenyon, Minn.

Known for: Homestyle cooking.

Local favorite: Papa Burger. A half-pound hamburger on Vienna bread covered with two kinds of cheese, bacon, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.

Price of the Papa Burger with cole slaw and pickles: $5.70. Add an order of French fries for $1.25.

Other services: Take out available. Back room available for private parties. Seats up to 40.

Call them at (507) 789-6400

KENYON, Minn. - Dave Erickson and his family opened Papa's Kenyon Family Restaurant in downtown Kenyon on June 15.

The town had been without a restaurant for close to three years and Erickson decided to purchase the building because he likes the restaurant business and also because he wanted to give his family jobs.

"I kinda like the business. I was in it before," Erickson said.

He owned the Trophy House in New Trier for four years and had to sell it because he became allergic to the smoke.

Erickson and his wife, Janet, own the building in downtown Kenyon, and the restaurant is a family corporation consisting of the couple and their three children, Annette Athey, Karri Haasnoot and Joel Erickson.

Three generations of the family work at the restaurant with Karri's daughter, Marissa, bussing dishes.

Papa's has close to 20 employees and all but one have a Kenyon address. Erickson wanted to give local people jobs when he opened the place.

Residents have responded by supporting the restaurant. The Lions meet there and a coffee group gathers for an hour each morning. Customers also order a lot of burgers.

Erickson will sell 150 to 180 pounds of hamburger a week, delivered fresh twice a week.

"I don't believe in frozen hamburger," he said.

All the burgers, except for the Papa Burger, are one-third pound burgers.

Wednesday is burger night when 4.5 ounce burgers sell for $2. An order of fries is $1 more.

All sandwiches come with a pickle and cole slaw.

"We go through a lot of cole slaw," Erickson said. "It's my grandmother's recipe."

His grandmother raised a big garden, grew cabbage and served it with her special recipe. It's been handed down through the generations. Erickson won't disclose the ingredients.

Friday night is fish night with a two-piece fish dinner selling for $9.95 and all-you-can-eat fish selling for $10.95. Both come with potato, salad or cole slaw and garlic toast.

Tuesday night is taco night. Tacos are $1.75 each or three for $4.95. Papa's also serves the Uff Da Taco from Fertile. It's a taco in a shell made of deep-fried bread. It sells for $5.95.

Papa's focuses on meat and potatoes. Daily noon and evening specials are offered and beef, pork and chicken are menu staples.

"That's what people want," Erickson said.

The kids' menu is also popular. Mini-corndogs, a hamburger, two chicken strips, a grilled cheese sandwich and mini-tacos round out the kids' menu. Each item is served with French fries and a fruit cup. Kids' meals sell for $2.95.

The cafe draws people from throughout the area, with many commenting that the can't find food that tastes like that served at Papa's at other restaurants. They also like the portions.

"It costs a lot to run a restaurant," Erickson said. "I'm not in this business to gouge anybody."

Soon, Erickson hopes to start a Sunday brunch at Papa's. They may also close Sunday evenings to give his children more time to spend with their families.

-- Janet Kubat Willette

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