Randy Stone followed up the post about his family’s business — Stone’s Restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa — with some great insights about the challenges in recent years. He also shared wonderful photos that we’ll spread out over a few posts.
“The restaurant had fallen on hard times so my part of the family quit our jobs in Illinois and returned to Marshalltown in 2002 to try to salvage the business. We got great support from news media, loyal patrons and many others but could not make ends meet. The last thing we wanted to do was compromise quality or change the nature of the business from what it had been for 100+ years. We put in a new kitchen, upgraded the menu, and generally tried to make it a place grandma would have been proud of. Unfortunately, I think fast food and chain operations have flourished while independant businesses have suffered. At least that seems to be the nature of things in this part of the woods. Great times while they lasted though.
“In the last few weeks we were open, I met a gentleman from Pakistan who had heard about the lemon chiffon pie from friends over there and, while visiting a company in Marshalltown, stopped by to try it. I was also looking through some old guest registers recently and found one from the 40’s that actress Zasu Pitts had signed. She used to appear in W.C. Fields movies. We also have a card that the old cowboy star, Tom Mix had signed. Both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt gave speeches off the back of trains at the railroad depot that used to be across the street from the restaurant.”
Above: Randy’s grandparents.