Former US36 cafe in Scandia gets new lease on life
By Cynthia Scheer Telescope News
Every once in a while an out-of-towner who hasn’t passed through Scandia for a few years will stop in at Tom Clark’s insurance business on Highway 36 looking for a meal. The travelers are surprised to fi nd the food long gone, Clark said, and an insurance offi ce in the building instead. The food-seekers are fewer and farther between since the ice cream cone and coffee house that were painted on the side of the building were covered up with new siding last fall. “There were two to three people stopping in a week looking for a restaurant,”
Clark said of the first six months of business last year. The Republic native purchased the former Kaffe Haus building in December 2012 and remodeled the building to house his insurance business, which he had run out of his house in Courtland since 1997. He
chose the building because it was located along the highway, he said. The building’s interior was stripped down to its cement block walls, he said, and the inside was framed up, insulated, re-wired and re-plumbed. The building also got a new metal roof, windows
and new siding before it opened last April. The restaurant’s dining room is now divided into an office and fi ling room, and the long room that once housed the restaurant’s counter and booths is now the reception area. The kitchen has become a break room. The building is nearly new again, Clark said, after setting empty for more than three years.
Arlene Swanson, of Scandia, owned the Kaffe Haus for about 21 years and closed the business in 2006. A few other people owned the business for a short time before it sat empty, she said. “I’m very happy to see it fixed up,” Swanson said. “It looks nice so nice from the highway now.”