Four generations have kept Olympia Candy Kitchen running for more than 100 years
GOSHEN, Ind.,--Michiana's menu is back and the first installment in 2023 is at a restaurant that opened in 1912! Entering Olympia Candy Kitchen is like entering a time capsule (with food).
Since 1912, Olympia Candy Kitchen has stood the test of time in the heart of Goshen, surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression, a recession and COVID-19, but Olympia stands tall with few changes over the past few decades.
Kare Andersen runs the restaurant and has made few changes.
"We try not to change it too much because that's part of the mystique of the place is the history," said Andersen.
He gave us a tour and showed off the counter built in 1955, the original tin ceiling and original lights.
As for the food, in the last century, the menu has evolved but some things stay the same.
“We keep the recipes the same so we make our own mayonnaise," said Andersen. "We make our own chocolate syrup. We make a lot of things from scratch. The original menu, it was all sundaes., so some of those sundaes have made it through to our menu now today."
Hot sandwiches were added to the menu in the 1950s and breakfast options were first available in the 1980s. We looked over a mid-century menu with some items that made the cut into 2023, like the chop suey shake.
How has Olympia Candy Kitchen remained so consistent? It’s because the ownership stays in the family.
Andersen showed us a picture of his great-grandfather and shared his story.
“My great-grandpa, Nick Paflas, came here from Greece when he was 15, jumped off the train and started working actually at a shoe store and ended up coming here and meeting his wife," said Andersen. "And they bought the place in 1923."
He shared the other generations in between.
“My great-grandpa’s son Was Lamar. That's Lamar Paflas, and then my mom, Kathy, and then me."
Andersen runs things now, marking Olympia’s fourth generation.
“The community has been wonderful for us," said Andersen. "We have a lot of regular customers. There's somebody that said it's like 'Cheers' without the beers, so you know people's names, you know what they eat."
I checked in with some regulars. One began coming to Olympia as a teen and has been coming ever since. He now brings in his teenage son.
Some personal favorites from the people I talked to were the cheeseburger, gummy worms and the pork and olive sandwich.