July 16, 2020

By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection

MOUNTAIN KITCHEN IN RIMFOREST: This week’s image is a real photo postcard of the Mountain Kitchen restaurant in Rimforest. The Mountain Kitchen was established in 1946 in what was known at the time as Rim Village. The area was originally called Rim of the World Forest when the development was advertised in 1945. The sales reps emphasized that this was the only straight and level piece of Highway 18 on the mountain. The name of the area then evolved to Rim Village, then Rim Forest Village and finally just Rimforest. The original owners of the restaurant were a Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Coe. By 1950 the Mountain Kitchen became owned by Dave and Betty Pekus who also owned the Arrowhead Manor Country Club. The Mountain Kitchen offered fine meals, cocktails and dancing. Butch Baumann, owner of Rim Lumber, and his mother, Elizabeth, worked at the Mountain Kitchen in the late 1950’s. Butch remembered that one of the popular features of the restaurant was the Friday night Chuck Wagon buffet. Steaks, Shrimp and Chicken were also featured menu items. Since the Pekus’ owned the Mountain Kitchen and operated the Arrowhead Manor Country Club as well, advertisements in the papers sometimes encouraged people to stop at the Mountain Kitchen on the way to the Country Club. Many advertisements during the 1950’s touted the Mountain Kitchen as “First Bar on the Hill.” The restaurant always served as a favorite gathering place for the community; both down the hill and on the hill. It hosted a variety of business and personal events such as development meetings for the new Rim Village; engagement parties; St. Patrick’s Day dinner parties and meetings of the Lion’s Club. Around 1970, after a fire, the Mountain Kitchen was refurbished to become the current Elks Lodge in Rimforest.

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