A pleased Don Pappas, proprietor of the Hubbell House, hold his award plaque.
By Ruth Hanson
The Hubbell House in Mantorville has been named the Restaurant of the Year by the Minnesota Restaurant Association.
The award was presented to Don Pappas at a gala 2012 Awards Ceremony on November 19 at The Saint Paul Hotel.
The Restaurant of the Year Award recognizes a company that provides outstanding customer service and distinguishes itself as a leader in the industry and community.
The Hubbell House was established in 1854 in Mantorville as an inn for westward travelers and has grown to be an award winning restaurant.
In the rush to the West, Frank Mantor and John Hubbell stopped there to stake their claim to what is now the village of Mantorville. So four years before Minnesota became a state, Hubbell constructed the first Hubbell House. The original hotel, a 16X24 foot structure, was the only building in town with a double roof, thereby allowing room in the chamber for guests.
Two years later the present three-story structure was built, and it immediately became an important stopping place along the trail from the Mississippi to St. Peter, then the aspiring state capital.
In 1946, Paul and Irene Pappas purchased the Hubbell House and established the policy of providing excellent food and service. Paul and his sons added on to the building until it seats nearly 350 people.
The Hubbell House has hosted many well-known guests that are listed on the placemat, including Horace Greeley, Alexander Ramsey and Ulysses Grant. More recently Dwight Eisenhower, Roy Rogers, Mickey Mantle as well as the Minnesota Vikings have eaten there.
Paul died in 1996, just a few days before celebrating his 50th year of ownership.
Don introduced eight of his employees, including Jan Smith, who drew the most applause for her 65 years of service at the Hubbell House, starting in 1947. Four others had at least 30 years on staff.
Pappas said he felt blessed to have each of them on his staff.
"These are the people who made the Hubbell House," he said.
Pat Dibble, who lives in Kasson, said that her mother, Amelia Flom, was the dining room manager for 36 years.
"Those were happy days - my growing up years," she said. "It was fun, like going home. I think we took for granted how nice a place it was. Don is very creative in doing special things. My mother came out of retirement when they started serving luncheons."
She said that, "of course, the most important thing about the Hubbell House is its good food.
"The food is consistently good and reasonably priced and the dining is casual," she said. "There is a wide variety of food on the menu.
The Hubbell House is known for its wonderful steaks and sandwiches."
A couple commented to the woman at the counter where he was paying his bill that they live in Phoenix now, but they have been coming to the Hubbell House for 50 years.
A smile on Don's face stayed there as he explained that the Restaurant of the Year Award usually went to an eating place in the Twin Cities area.
He was definitely pleased.
And he should be.
Hours at the Hubbell are: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 4 to 9 p.m. for dinner; Friday, 11- 2 lunch and dinner is 4 -10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. lunch and 4-10 p.m. dinner; Sunday, 11:30 -9 p.m. Reservations are appreciated, call 507-635 2331.