435-734-2468

History of Idle Isle Café

Welcome to Idle Isle Café in the heart of historic downtown Brigham City, Utah, where history comes to life as soon as you step inside. 

Idle Isle Café was established on May 7, 1921 by P.C. Knudson and his wife, Verabel as an ice cream parlor and candy store.  As business continued to grow and demand for a full service restaurant was needed Verabel’s brother, David H. Call and his wife LaRita, joined the Knudson’s to form the partnership that evolved into a full-service family restaurant and candy shop that has continued to serve as a community gathering place for locals and travelers alike.

The unique décor of the 1920’s still remains intact. Though changes have been necessary over time, the handcrafted wood booths, marble and onyx counters, art deco lighting, grandfather clock, and other historic décor remain unchanged.

Idle Isle Café’s rich history was passed on to later generations that carried on the Knudson and Call families’ vision. In 1994, Richard H. VanDyke, a grandson of the Knudson’s, and his wife Shari sold the restaurant portion of Idle Isle Café to Kim and Ann Jeppsen  and dedicated their efforts full time to expand and develop the candy business.  In 2004, to facilitate the expansion of both the sales of production of the candy business, Richard VanDyke purchased and remodeled a building and moved the candy store across the street.  The Jeppsen’s continued Idle Isle Cafe’s traditions of providing homestyle  meals to the community.

These traditions remain unchanged for 101 years making it the oldest continually operating restaurant in Utah.  This is part of the dream and vision of the new owners who want to provide high-quality service, down home cooking, and a memorable experience that will make you want to come back time and time again.

The History of the Armeda Building home of the Idle Isle Cafe

Built in 1886, the Idle Isle Café building was first owned by Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The building originally shared a name with President Snow’s daughter, Celestia Armeda Snow Young. Snow gave Armeda Young the building and she owned it until the mid-1890s.

The Armeda building was purchased by William O. Knudson and his brother-in-law Chris Christensen.  At one time they had a dish store. They carried all kinds of name brands of fine china. In the basement of the building was the first bowling alley in Brigham City until they passed an ordinance outlawing it within city limits so it was sold to someone in Logan.

In 1921, newlyweds Percy and Verabel Knudson opened Idle Isle. From the beginning, Idle Isle sold candy and ice cream. They later added a café selling soups and sandwiches in the late 1920s. Like all businesses, Idle Isle had its ups and downs. The family worked hard to keep the restaurant afloat through the Great Depression and World War II.

During World War II, Idle Isle recruited Japanese- American internees from the Topaz or Minidoka internment camps to help with laundry and the storefront. Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were uprooted from their homes and transferred to internment camps throughout the West. In many cases, Japanese-Americans lost their entire livelihoods because they were uprooted. Verabel Knudson recalls that they had Japanese-American “millionaires as dishwashers” for Idle Isle.

During the war, Idle Isle also helped war veterans at the Bushnell Hospital get back on their feet. The Knudson’s provided war amputees with free meals from Idle Isle and even fed them from their own home when Idle Isle was closed.

Idle Isle Cafe

Old Fashioned Service, Modern Amenities

High speed internet has been added and is available to customers.  Video conferencing will soon be added. We are working on a delivery service and hope to have it available soon. Our catering services are  being revamped as demand continues to grow. More updates to come! Watch our Facebook page and Instagram for specials.  For now, come on by, enjoy our history, our fine food and let’s make some new memories together!

Reservations & Catering

To make reservations for a large group or to inquire about our catering services, contact us at 435-734-2468 today!

Hours:

Monday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday: Closed
Large group private events or caterings available

Contact

Idle Isle Cafe
24 South Main Street
Brigham City, UT 84302

435-734-2468

corinna.idleisle@gmail.com