Tag Archives: meatloaf

Vintage Restaurant Meatloaf

Hale’s Restaurant, Killbuck, Ohio

Hale’s Restaurant

Hale’s Restaurant stood on the corner of Main and Front Streets–the main intersection of Killbuck Ohio– when I was in school in Killbuck, Ohio. Recently on a Facebook group for present and former residents of that village,contributor “Tootzi” Snyder, shared a special recipe. Claude Hale, the owner of Hale’s restaurant had given his meatloaf recipe to her. Thank you, Tootzi for setting me out on this research and cooking adventure.

[Note: That is not Claude Hale in the photo above, but a person from the Danville fire department. Ironic when you read the history of the restaurant, which I outline below]

Vintage Meatloaf

Hale's Restaurant Vintage Meatloaf
Hale’s Restaurant Meatloaf naked

UPDATE March 2019: Although I cheated and served French Fries instead of mashed potatoes, I did have gravy on the meatloaf I made. Somehow I knew peas and mashed potatoes and gravy had to be part of the meal. Sure enough, the husband of a high school friend of mine posted on the Killbuck group:
The first meal that I had in Hales was meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. $.70
The side dishes were : Peas,prunes, head lettuce, Apple sauce. cottage cheese and garden salad. [presumably, pick two. And can you imagine prunes on a restaurant menu today? As a side dish?]

Recipe hand written by Claude Hale, owner of the Hale’s Restaurant in Killbuck. Courtesy of Tootzi Snyder. NOTE: “Mango” is Northern Ohio lingo for bell pepper.

And about that “mango” in the recipe–remember it is Midwestern lingo for green pepper. Here’s a good explanation of how that word usage and confusion happened.

Anderson’s Restaurant

My grandmother and grandfather Guy and Vera Anderson (on the left in the picture at the top of the page) ran a restaurant in Killbuck, too. They started serving meals in the mid-1930’s and closed around 1945 when my grandfather began to have heart trouble. So naturally, I was curious to learn whether Hale’s restaurant came along afterwards to fill a void. Or was Hale’s a competitor to the Anderson’s Restaurant just down the street on Main? After all, I’m certain that Anderson’s also served meatloaf.

Hale’s Restaurant Timeline

After some Googling and reading newspaper articles from the period, I can present this history of Claude Hale and his restaurant. Alas, no menus or ads featuring meatloaf.

  • Prior to April 1940: A restaurant called Bob and Bud’s Restaurant operates in the landmark Killbuck building at the corner of Main and Front Streets. [I have no information about Bob and Bud’s, unfortunately.]
  • April 1940: Claude Hale movs from Akron when he buys an interest
    in Bob & Bud’s Restaurant in Killbuck from Fred Teisher . Robert Teischer remains as his partner and assists in operating the restaurant, which becomes Hale’s Restaurant.
  • March, 1943: World War II calls all able-bodied men and Claude Hale signs up to fight. He announces he will close Hale’s Restaurant. [Apparently Mr. Teischer had moved on.] This threatens to leave Killbuck with no restaurant for the first time in 50 years according to the Killbuck columnist for the Coshocton Tribune. [If that is true, the first restaurant in Killbuck started in the 1890s, which definitely was earlier than the Anderson’s restaurant, So whose was it?]
  • In 1943, Mrs Mayme Burton rescues the town when she starts serving meals at her place of business on North Main Street. She also operates a gasoline station and a grocery store. (Sounds just like the combos we have now with gas pumps, shopping and a fast food restaurant under one roof.)
  • 1946: When he returns from the war, Claude reopens the restaurant. In the Killbuck Gang Facebook page, Owen Mellor recalls Hale’s was open in 1946.
  • June, 1958: The newspaper reports that Mr. and Mrs. Claude Hale have repurchased the restaurant from Norman Crandall. I was not able to find a notice of the original sale to Crandall, so don’t know when that took place. As far as I know the restaurant continued to operate as Hale’s throughout the 50s.
  • December, 1967: The Coshocton Tribune announces that Claude Hale and his wife have sold their restaurant to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dobbins. (They sold the business but retained the building, which included apartments.)
  • December 1970: A devastating fire breaks out in the middle of the night. Despite the efforts of 75 fireman and twelve trucks, the restaurant and apartments above are destroyed.

A FIRE Reveals the History of the Building

Newspaper coverage of the fire brings the story back to my own family. A few months ago, I featured a photo of my great-great grandmother, Mary Morgan’s home on the corner of Main and Front Streets. The article on the fire includes speculation that the building was built before the turn of the century. I knew that, because my great-grandfather ‘Doc’ Stout started his first medical practice there when he married Mary’s daughter, Hattie.

Even more interesting, the article says that the building previously served as a dry goods store and a post office. That is all part of my family history. Mary Mogan’s first husband, Asahel Platt operated a dry goods store. I discovered that fact through the probate papers filed after his death. After her second husband, Jesse Morgan, disappeared from her life, Mary served from time to time as postmistress for Killbuck. 

All those activities, plus her business as a seamstress, took place in the same building that later housed Hale’s restaurant. You can clearly see the similarity with the picture of Hale’s restaurant above.

Mary Morgan's house
Mary Morgan’s Killbuck house with Doc Stout office on right. Circa 1880

So much for the history of the Hale’s Restaurant. How about a slice of restaurant meatloaf? Claude Hale’s recipe obviously serves a lot more people than you might at home. In the notes on the recipe, I tell you how easy it is to convert this to 1/3 the size.

Also, this recipe is pretty basic. If you want to try one with a little more pizazz, see my own meatloaf recipe. I believe the use of tomato paste or sauce or catsup probably derives from the Anderson’s Restaurant recipe. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Although I may add more eggs to the Anderson Recipe next time, because I really liked the texture of Hale’s meatloaf.

Hale's Restaurant meatloaf

Hale’s Restaurant Meatloaf

This is a vintage, mid-century restaurant recipe for a no-frills meatloaf, juicy and flavorful.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, meatloaf, vintage recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 36 slices


  • 6 lbs ground beef
  • 3 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb onion chopped fine
  • 3 cups cracker meal
  • 1 mango (green bell pepper) chopped fine
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 bunch celery chopped fine or 3 tbsp celery seed


  • Beat eggs. Mix all ingredients, pack in pan and bake 3 and 1/2 hours. (temperature not given, but for such a long baking time, probably 325)


This is the full restaurant-sized recipe as written by the restaurant owner.  I made 1/3 the amount and it made an 8″ loaf pan plus a mini loaf pan. Alternatively, it would fill a 9″ loaf pan.
The recipe is easy to divided in thirds.  Just remember that 1/3 a Tablespoon is 1 teaspoon, so don’t overdo the pepper.
Several people on first seeing this recipe thought it was too many eggs, but I found the eggs and cracker meal balanced perfectly with the ground beef for a very good texture.
You can serve it with a brown gravy (mix 3 tbsp melted butter and 3 tbsp flour, and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups beef broth depending on how thick you want the gravy.)  For an authentic mid-century restaurant meal, serve with mashed potatoes and canned peas and a lettuce salad.

Blue Plate Special: Cousin Herb Remembers

Since my cousin, Herb Anderson is a slight bit older than I am, I asked him if he could remember anything about our grandparent’s restaurant. He remembered a lot, including blue plate specials!

Herbert Anderson

My cousin, Herb Anderson

I am not sure of the beginning of the restaurant  I would guess around 1936-37 and remember when grandfather Guy died (1945) they were not operating the restaurant, but I still remember that after every basketball game grandmother offering me a piece of pie and a glass of cold milk. (That would have been about 1944).

Grandfather always keep a large wooden club and a blackjack ( pebble filled leather pouch that served as a weapon to knock out trouble makers) I remember there was always trouble on Saturday nights and that little Guy was not in the least afraid to step up to any trouble maker. Dad (Herb Anderson Sr.) and Uncle Bill were there to back him up.

Grandpa Anderson

Grandpa Anderson

Bob Anderson [son of Bill and Sarah Anderson]  and I, when we were 10-11, worked on busy nights and served beer and food until someone reported us to the authorities and shut us down. Bob and I would have a contest to see who could bring in the most money.

On the [risque] side, Grandmother found a condom in the entrance way and accused Guy or Dad having his way with a nice-looking girl who worked part time. I never knew the outcome of this.

The food was always good country cooking: sliced beef with potatoes and gravy, meatloaf, and as you know, wonderful pies.

Dr. Benson (the town dentist) and “Doc” Kaiser [the druggist] were regular customers of their Blue Plate Special. Dr Benson was a fiend on Cokes, drinking one after another.

They had a jukebox that was popular .One gentleman would always be playing Hank Williams (Your Cheating Heart ) as his wife had left him for another.

Archway and jukeboxes

Archway and jukeboxes

The room that later served as living room and dining room, was filled with wire back chairs & stools.It was usually used on weekends and busy holidays. You stepped down [from the long front room] one step into the next room that had a big arch, this room was where most of the restaurant action was.Two small booths to your right  and bar stools at counters and a table or two including the wire ( ice cream tables & chairs ) were used doing the restaurant days.

[The small room on the left in the rear was the kitchen]. The room at the rear to the right of the kitchen behind the bar was where they always had a big cooler with piles of ice to cool the beer.

Grandmother Vera & Guy had a small table sitting in the picture window and always had a game of 500 Rum going. They keep score carefully so when they were interrupted they would jump right back in the game.

I remember they set up large tents in the yard between the property and Dr. Benson’s office next door and would serve beer outside during hot summer days,  weekends and holidays. There was a door right next to their card playing table that was used for access to serve the tent crowd. It was always a busy exit. Bob & I used to take turns mowing the yard .We were paid one big Quarter.

The beer garden was a special event in the 30s. Grandmother had a flower garden right in the center of the yard that ended up as the center display under the tent.

Grandpa Guy would play pool with his brother Ben ( who had a metal hook replacing an arm lost I believe on a railroad track ) but he played pool as well with the metal hook as [others with] fingers. I would follow Grandpa as he started to walk back from the pool room ( Toe’s Pool Hall ) to the restaurant and hit him up for a quarter that he always gave me. Toe’s was a center of attractions. They later put in king pin bowling ( miniature balls ) that went well for a while. I set pins. Because the balls were small they traveled at a high speed and the pins would fly. It is a wonder that I survived.

Many thanks to my cousin Herb Anderson for sharing his childhood memories of our Grandmother and Grandfather’s restaurant.

I also asked some old timers who still live in the Killbuck area to see what they could learn, and Larry Neal gave me some interesting tidbits. This is what Larry wrote to me:

Paul Smith, another of my classmates, remembers walking down the hill after school with your cousin, Herb, and going into the restaurant by the backdoor (into the kitchen).  Paul’s Dad was the minister of Killbuck Christian Church so Paul couldn’t go in the area where they sold beer.  He also remembers the 1926 Essex automobile of your grandparents.

Another classmate, Victor Snyder, remembers saving pennies so that he could go into Andersons Restaurant to buy a 5 cent hamburger!

I’m still fishing for more information on the restaurant. I thought it would be interesting to see a menu, but then it occurred to me that they probably didn’t even use menus. And I don’t have recipes for any of those blue plate specials. Either you know how to cook mashed potatoes with pot roast and gravy, or you don’t! But I imagine that since I make meatloaf the way that my mother made it, that Grandma Vera probably made it about the same way. (I make it without onions, and add garlic and celery, and sometimes grated carrot).

Meatloaf mixed the right way.

Granddaughter Rachel mixes the meatloaf the right way.


  • 3 lb. ground beef
  • 1 1/2 C oats (quick cooking or regular) [use smashed up saltines if you don’t have oats.
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/2 C onion chopped fine
  • dried parsley (or oregano or Italian herbs–whatever you like)
  • sliced mushrooms if you have them
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 C Catsup (or tomato sauce)
  • 1/4 C Catsup for topping

Beat egg. Put all ingredients in large bowl.  Mix with your hands. If it seems too dry, add a little water or broth.  Pat into two loaf pans. Spread catsup on top. Bake at 350@ for about an hour. (Stick a knife into the middle to see if it is done.)

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