Chuckwagon Steak

Interior Skippys 1960 6 Pauline

I probably patronized Skippy’s about as often as I did the Snack Bar. Skippy’s didn’t toast their burger buns and I didn’t like their fries as much (they made the thick fries with the curly cut rather than the thin straight cut fries), but otherwise their food was pretty much just as good. And they had the advantage of having a cooler just inside their front door (they also had a side door) with bottles of soft drinks like Coke and Seven Up and so forth, so you could pick and choose what you wanted.

Interior Skippys 1960 8 Butch Ebling

My mother operated a beauty shop in the back of our house, and depending on how busy she was, she didn’t always have time to make lunch for my sister and me when we came home from school. So from time to time as I was walking home during the lunch break, and I was nearing the railroad tracks, I’d hear Pauline calling out my name from Skippy’s front door. My mother had phoned in an order, and I needed to bring it home.

There would be the burger and fries for me, while my mother would order one of the full meals that Skippy’s produced for herself. And for my sister she would order the Chuckwagon Steak. And an order of fries, of course.

I never knew just what the Chuckwagon Steak consisted of, presumably some kind of ground meat of some sort, and I’m not sure if I ever actually tried it myself. If I did I wasn’t impressed enough to re-order. But it’s what my sister would always get in lieu of a regular hamburger. I think it was slightly larger than the regular burgers and probably cost an extra dime, if I recall correctly, but I’m not certain. And the more I think about I think it may have not been just a plain patty but a breaded one, but maybe I’m thinking of something else.


In the late afternoons and evenings there was usually a bunch of teenage boys sitting on the wooden bench in front of Skippy’s chewing the fat, shooting the shit, whatever it was that teenagers do. They had tried to hang out near the Snack Bar, but they were always chased away, even though they weren’t actually causing any trouble, at least not most of the time. They found a more welcoming home on the wooden bench in front of Skippy’s. This led to a lot of pent-up resentment against the Snack Bar amongst the teenage inhabitants of Richland, but as far as I can recall it never amounted to anything more than a lot of grexing and grousing. (Yes, “grexing” is a word. You can look it up: Grex)

Interior Skippys 1960 10 Eddie Sites

The photos on this post were all found on Dale Bentz’s collection on Facebook and were taken in February 1960 at Skippy’s. The photo at the top shows Pauline Zimmerman who along with her husband George owned and operated Skippy’s. The next photo shows Butch Ebling and the following one is of Eddie Sites. The photo at the bottom shows Phyllis Wasco, George Reiter, and Arlene Seldomridge (Skeet’s Mom).

Skippy’s was located next to the railroad tracks at the junction of Main and South Race Streets, or directly on Apple Alley. It was next door to, in fact it shared the same building with, Rich Maid Kitchens, a custom kitchen contracting outfit.

And two months later in April 1960 that building would become ground zero for the biggest story ever to hit Richland up to that point.

Interior Skippys 1960 9 Phyllis Wasco and Arlene Seldomridge

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