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Priceless nostalgia, dinnerware and more from Grandpa’s Steakhouse up for auction Monday |

Priceless nostalgia, dinnerware and more from Grandpa’s Steakhouse up for auction Monday

KEARNEY — Dinner plates, beverage glasses, roasters, refrigerators and chandeliers won’t be the only items on the auction block Monday at the long-shuttered Grandpa’s Steakhouse. Priceless nostalgia will be up for bidding, too.

This summer, the landmark restaurant, founded 66 years ago by Bud and Betty Connell, will be torn down to make way for a 13,000-square-feet headquarters for KAAPA Ethanol Holdings LLC.


Starting at 10 a.m. Monday, Adam Marshall, owner of Adam Marshall Auctioneers Land Brokers of Kearney, and his crew will auction off everything left behind after the restaurant closed suddenly on Oct. 31, 2013, two days shy of its 61st anniversary.

On Wednesday, Marshall and some of his crew scurried among 500 boxes of creamers, coffee cups and spoons piled high on tables in preparation for the auction, along with nearly 300 chairs, 60 square dining tables, and decorations for Halloween and Christmas. They all wore headlamps because the electricity has been shut off to the building.

Bidders also will vie for freezers, stoves, ovens, preparation tables, even a large dishwasher.

“We’ve found Grandpa’s Steakhouse menus, paper napkins with the restaurant logo, and shot glasses,” Marshall said. “They’ll be auctioned off, too.”


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Adam Marshall holds a menu cover, which was purchased but never used at Grandpa’s Steakhouse, along with a napkin and a shot glass. Marshall’s business, Adam Marshall Auctioneers Land Brokers, will handle the auction Monday.


Mary Jane Skala, Kearney Hub

The public even can purchase the iconic letters that say “Grandpa’s Steakhouse” on the building’s exterior. “We’ll sell all of them at once, or individually,” Marshall said. He began working in early April to clear out the old restaurant. Mirrors, clocks and even the front doors – everything – will go.

“This would be a good opportunity for the owner of a new restaurant or a cafe,” Marshall said. “I imagine others who come will be auction-goers, people who just like to buy and resell items.”

Monday’s crowd, no doubt, will be peppered with people who remember when Grandpa’s Steakhouse was thriving.

“John Madden even ate here once,” said Chuck Woodside, chief executive officer of KAAPA Ethanol. “Everyone has a connection to the building because it’s been in the community so long. I’ve heard that in the old days, they didn’t have a liquor license, so people were told to bring their own bottles.”

Marshall said his grandfather went to Grandpa’s Steakhouse every week after the cattle auction.

“It was kind of a gathering place, the nicest place in town,” he said. Its Sunday brunch was a Kearney tradition, as were proms and other events.


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Starting at 10 a.m. Monday, Adam Marshall, owner of Adam Marshall Auctioneers Land Brokers of Kearney, and his crew will auction off everything left behind after the restaurant closed suddenly on Oct. 31, 2013, two days shy of its 61st anniversary.


Mary Jane Skala, Kearney Hub

The restaurant was last owned by Libby Merrifield, daughter of the Connells, and her husband Pat. Its banquet room served 450 people.

In November, KAAPA Ethanol purchased the four-acre site, which includes a house and lot immediately south of the restaurant. Woodside expects it to be cleared by the end of June. Wilkins Architecture Design Planning of Kearney is designing the new KAAPA building, which should open within a year. It will house eight employees and have room for growth, he said.

KAAPA Ethanol has ethanol plants in Minden and Ravenna and a grain elevator in Elm Creek. When the new building opens, the company will vacate the space it currently rents on West 11th Street near Third Avenue.

On Monday, Marshall and Bruce McDowell will be the primary auctioneers, assisted by Kam Hartstack. The public will be able to survey everything before the auction begins at 10 a.m. Food and beverages will be available.

Marshall expects the event to last until about 2 p.m.

“The stuff that doesn’t sell in the auction will stay here,” Woodside said. “At the end of the day, we’ll clear the site. Some of the neighbors are anxious to see that happen.”

maryjane.skala@kearneyhub.com

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