Lunch at the White House (the one in Logansport, on the Michigan Road)

You don’t need an invitation from Barack Obama to eat at this White House.

Whitehouse No. 1

Longtime readers may remember this Logansport joint, as I shared the above photo here late last year. I pass by fairly frequently as it stands on the old Michigan Road, which I drive between my home in Indianapolis and my parents’ home in South Bend. Last time I drove by, my sons were along and we were hungry. So we stopped and had double cheeseburgers and fries.

Peace of Pie

This place is an anachronism, which is why I enjoyed it so much. It looks like they started operations in about 1960 and then never changed anything. The countertop supports this – all the forearms that have rested on it over the past 60 years have worn the laminate’s top layer away, leaving black blotches behind. They have a surprisingly large menu; it looks like they make everything possible out of the basic ingredients they keep on hand. Lunch here won’t hurt your pocketbook, but don’t hand them your debit card when you’re done eating. Cash only.

Out of Order

This place is tiny, with just eight seats at the counter and four cramped booths. These little juke boxes are in every booth, and there are two at the counter. None of them work; judging by the music loaded in them, they’ve been broken since the late 1990s. A couple of them have For Sale notices taped to them in case you collect such things!

The Michigan Road is Indiana’s first state-funded highway, built in the 1830s to connect the Ohio River to Lake Michigan through Indianapolis. I’m the co-chair of a committee working to have the Michigan Road named a State Historic Byway. We’re very close – we have submitted the application and present our case to the Indiana Department of Transportation next week! For more information, see our Web site, www.historicmichiganroad.org.

I’ve documented Indiana’s historic Michigan Road extensively. To read all about it, click here.

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Comments

19 responses to “Lunch at the White House (the one in Logansport, on the Michigan Road)”

  1. Dani Avatar
    Dani

    Thanks for sharing. Hope for the opportunity that I may drop by the White House sometime.

    1. Jim Avatar

      You should! But be sure to get there early; they close at 1 pm!

  2. Malerie Avatar

    I love this! Too bad it’s not on US Route 6 – though I’m sure I’ll find places like it.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I look forward to your reports from the field! I have Indiana’s US 6 on my radar to explore one day. I know of one abandoned alignment, I think in Marshall County.

      1. Rush Rox Avatar
        Rush Rox

        I have driven by that place many times in my life — always wondered what it was like. My mother was originally from the Bourbon/Bremen/Nappanee area and had a large extended family in that area. Since we lived in Delphi when I was a youngster, Logansport was right on our route when we visited that side of the family. Despite being the largest municipality on our route, we rarely stopped in Logansport, favoring instead places like the Burger Chef or the KFC in Rochester for driving breaks.

        That was many years ago and my travels no longer take me through Logansport. Perhaps someday I will find an excuse to pass through there again and I’ll be fortunate enough to grab a bite at the White House. And if the White House isn’t open, maybe the Char-Bett will be, twinkling invitingly at the edge of town-just as it appeared to a small boy in the back of a Catalina station wagon decades ago.

        1. Jim Avatar

          The Char-Bett is still there; I had a chocolate malt there a couple weeks ago!

      2. Rush Rox Avatar
        Rush Rox

        Oops, I didn’t mean to ramble about Logansport in my previous post. I intended follow your mention of the old US 6 alignment. I have a US 6 route map from the 1930s–the typical glove-box fold-up type. It was given to me by my grandfather years and due to its age and fragility, I rarely get it out to enjoy it in the unfolded state. Of course, because it covers the entire length of the route, the map is not sufficiently detailed for investigating an old alignment such as you have mentioned. Nonetheless, I’m certain you would enjoy examining it for yourself and I would happily entertain discussing ways and means of making that happen.

        1. Jim Avatar

          I appreciate the thought! I’m going to pass, as I do vastly prefer maps that give enough detail to determine routing at a local level.

  3. vanilla Avatar

    Such places are one good reason for taking the scenic route!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Unless you’re trying to watch your weight!

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    And I bet their food is awesome! It’s those little lunch joints that usually have the best food despite the decor, which I love anyway. Sort of stuck in time. I’d buy one of those juke boxes! I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff!

  5. ryoko861 Avatar

    Oh, and good luck with the application! I hope it gets approved and it’ll be a historic byway!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Their cheeseburgers are wicked good! If I lived in Logansport I’d probably have lunch there three times a week! And thanks for your good wishes as we head into our presentation to INDOT next week. I hope they don’t drag their feet in deciding on our application!

  6. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Wow… Republicans said Obama would bring the place low. Who knew? :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’m laughing, but it hurts!

  7. Todd Pack Avatar

    I want to go there. I want to go there and get a peace-sign of pie and a cup of coffee.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Road trip!

  8. versa kay Avatar

    I visited the white house once about 15 years ago, not the great one on the old Michigan road, but an older one somewhere in washington D.C., but alas, I couldn’t find something to eat there.

    1. Jim Avatar

      When I visited that White House two years ago, you couldn’t get in anymore without an appointment and an endorsement from your Congressman.

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