A Mount Horeb staple for 107 years!
Since 1911 there has been a restaurant located at the site of 128 E. Main Street in Mount Horeb. It is a place where hundreds of locals have started their mornings out, countless visitors have congregated and where rivers of coffee have been served for more than 100 years! Today it is fondly known as Schubert’s.
In 1881 the Pieh Meat Market, which later added a second floor, was located at this address. In 1889 G.G. Mandt located his home and print shop at this location. Mandt published the Dane County Sun newspaper. Burchell’s Restaurant followed Mandt’s print shop and the building was torn down in 1905 when Thomas Ayen built the present structure and opened the City Meat Market, which employed George Pieh as butcher and assistant.
The building then passed into the ownership of Thomas Lindgard. In 1911, Otto Olson, who had been making butter at the Old Town Creamery, resigned from his job to open a bakery and restaurant – renting the Lindgard building! Olson’s second floor space was used as an apartment, a banquet and meeting room, and, for a while, a barber shop operated by Walter Hopkins.
Around 1916, Olson added the iconic wooden booths to the building. Along with the dinners and baked items the Olson’s operated a soda fountain and sold cigars and candy. To increase bakery sales the Olson’s sold bread beyond the bakery, shipping white and whole wheat to Klevenville, where it was loaded on a train to a destination in Dodgeville; it was dispersed to local stores along the way.
Pete Olson, the baker, originally created the well-known Swedish rye bread that is still offered today. Pete never really would divulge the recipe stating, “just a pinch of this and a dash of that.”
In 1922 Fred Luder Jr. started building the Apollo Theater, later the Strand Theater, next door. That created a trying time for the Olson’s due to the large amount of rock that had to be removed, blasting was required. This blasting caused the bakery’s bread to fall in its pans while it was rising. It is said that Otto Olson walked fast pace next door and shook his fist at the workers. The problem was soon solved!
In 1939, members of the Olson family and restaurant staff posed for a photo at the bakery and cafe.
Everything made from scratch.
This charming restaurant with its original tin ceilings, cozy wood booths, checkered floor, and old-fashioned soda fountain has become a local institution, where people travel from miles around for a wonderful meal and a taste of Schubert’s famous Swedish Rye Bread, Norwegian Lefse, Rosettes, Fry-cakes and other traditional favorites.
On Friday, November 11th, 1949 the Olson’s restaurant dinner menu consisted of the following: choice of roast beef dinner, fillets of haddock dinner, meatballs or a ham and noodles dinner. All these dinners came with cream of asparagus soup or apple cider, mashed potatoes & gravy, buttered green beans, banana salad, rolls and drink. Each dinner cost 95 cents!
A few years later coffee cost 10 cents, milk the same, a T-bone steak $2.25, pork chops 90 cents, hamburger 25 cents, hot pork sandwich, potatoes and gravy 50 cents, pie a la mode, 20 cents.
Due to ill health Otto Olson retired in 1943. By this time he had owned the building for several years. After his retirement his daughter, Clara, took over the management of the business until March 1, 1957 when the Olson’s sold out to Bert and Dorothy Frederickson.
The Frederickson’s retained the Olson name and added family and other antiques to the restaurant’s decor. Two of these pieces remain today – the large back bar mirror from Blue Mounds hotel building and a gas light that hangs over the cashier’s station. In 1985 Frederickson told the Historical Society, “One of my memorable employees was Fremont Flatburg.” The counter boy was with the business for over 40 years. “Fritzie,” as he was known to patrons, entertained restaurant-goers with his antics of spinning glasses and throwing ice over his back.
During the April primary campaign in 1960, while under Frederickson’s management, John F. Kennedy greeted people and gave a short speech in the upper level “Ivy Room” – named for it’s decorated wallpaper.
The Frederickson’s carried the Olson tradition until 1972, when they sold the business to Doug Gobel, who redecorated the building, added a new form of dinner menu and changed the name of the restaurant to Gobel’s.
Jerry Schubert and partner Gerald Thompson purchased the business from Gobel in November 1980. Jerry and his wife, Judy, bought out partner Gerald Thompson in July 1984 and changed the business name to Schubert’s Restaurant.
In more recent years the business was operated by Jerry Schubert and his son Jim, with a fire in 2002 closing the establishment for a short while. Cleanup and remodeling following the fire revealed a bank of glass windows that divided the kitchen and bakery from the seating area. Also, for a short time, the restaurant was operated by Tim Apezzo and Richard Baumeister, who moved their Blue Sky Cafe there. Today, the Schubert family is once again the owner of the business.
Through all these years and changes the restaurant retained it’s 1905 tin ceiling and WWI-era booths, continued to offer “old style” plate lunches, whipped up malts, baked hundreds of treats and offered its signature Swedish rye bread. The business has become a Mount Horeb institution with tourists and residents making it a must-visit destination.