Monday, Oct 23, 2017

Heritage House celebrates 40th

Heritage House.jpg
The Heritage House, 21225 Highway 14, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. HML photo by Jay Schulz

“Gemutlichkeit” is German for “good, warm feeling.” It’s the sentiment the Heritage House restaurant, at 21225 Highway 14, Harvard, has conveyed for the last 40 years. Jack Lulofs and his first wife, Ursula, bought and started the restaurant together. After Ursula passed away, Jack married his present wife, Lissie, and they ran it for the next few decades.

Since Jack’s passing two years ago, Lissie Lulofs has been at the helm of the Harvard landmark supported by a dedicated team of employees.

In 1928, Johnny Meyer’s Tavern at Highway 14 and Route 23 was purchased by Al Froehlke, who gave it the name Heritage House. “His idea was to dedicate the place, in paint and glass, to the honor of our early American heritage,” according to ancestry.com.

Lulofs said she is proud of the stained-glass windows depicting American heroes, such as Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, and the area behind the bar that pays tribute to the 13 original colonies.

The entire chalet-style building has an early-American two-sided fireplace, servicing each room, and low ceilings. Upon entering the Heritage House, the smaller dining room has a bar and television, yet maintains a dining room feel.

The larger room is brighter with the addition of the stained-glass windows. “Both rooms are decorated for each season by waitress Celeste Ely,” said fellow waitress Dawn Dollinger.

Lulofs said, “My waitresses are a great part of the success of Heritage House.”

Mary Pat Blake began serving in 1976. “I’ve come and gone and have always known it was a good place [to work] and that Jack would have me back,” said Blake. “We just wish Jack had lived to see the 40th anniversary of his beloved Heritage House on May 1 of this year. It is such a tribute to him and Lissie.”

Ely, too, has come and gone as a waitress since 1984. Dollinger has served continually since 1986. They enjoy a unified working environment. “We never feel we are going to work,” Blake said. “We love our customers and enjoy being here.”

Chef Larry Durkee has come and gone through the years, and his assistant is Devin Maney.

Lulofs said she is delighted that now she and her waitresses continue to serve second and third generations of families that have dined at Heritage House for the past 40 years.

The staff loves to meet and serve new patrons, as well. Recently, a traveler staying next door at the Heritage House Motel came to the restaurant for dinner. By the time he finished his meal, he said, “The last time I was spoiled like this, I was on a cruise ship.”

Although Lulofs is of German descent, her menu is all-American with German specialties sprinkled in. Heritage House is known for its relish tray, and several customers have said the Heritage House’s ambiance reminds them of an old-fashioned supper club.

The Heritage House is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. It is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

For reservations, call Heritage House at 815-943-6153.