Old-time restaurants provided more than food for a community

Contributed photo
The former Skogmo Café in Fergus Falls is an example of a restaurant that sold burgers for 30 cents during the 1960s.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Many baby boomers in Otter Tail County remember the good old days in the 1960s when, before and after basketball games, kids could purchase a burger for 30 cents, French fries for 25 cents and a Coca-Cola for ten cents.

A milk shake cost about 20 cents. Many restaurants such as Skogmo Café in Fergus Falls, no longer in operation, had really good lunch specials and evening steak dinners and other selections at reasonable prices.

Many restaurants had jukeboxes in those days. Author of this article, Tom Hintgen, said his favorite hit tune in 1965 was Petula Clark singing “Downtown” in 1965.

Dahl Music in Fergus Falls provided the jukeboxes, changed records and serviced them. “It was great that we could play the music right in our booth at the restaurant,” says Kathy Zimmerman.

“I was there most days after school and my favorites were French fries in a bowl and a glazed donut a la mode,” says Sue Rockwood Veazie, a Fergus Falls native and current resident of the Twin Cities.

It was also fun for younger kids to see their star high school athletes in towns such as Pelican Rapids, New York Mills, Henning, Battle Lake and Parkers Prairie at town restaurants. When in front of the restaurants, kids would wave to friends driving past the cafe along the main streets downtown.