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.
At 101 years old, Idle Isle Café, located at 24 S Main Street in Brigham City, is the oldest continually operating restaurant in Utah.
Situated inside the Armeda Block building that was built by Brigham Young’s son Brigham “Morris” Young for his wife Armeda, daughter of Lorenzo Snow, it cost $5,000 to build, including the finest in plumbing and electrical. It opened for business on September 21, 1892.
The History of the Armeda Building home of the Idle Isle Cafe
The building has undergone few modifications over the
years, but has seen many uses. In 1892, the Madison sisters
opened a millinery, selling fashions from Paris.
It subsequently became a grocery and produce house, a telegraph office, the location for the Brigham City Woolen Mill, a harness shop, and a hardware store.
Its basement hosted many community events for the Brigham City Fire Department, including the Scandinavian Masked Ball. In 1894, Homer Rich opened a bookkeeping class there. Afterward, becoming a gym club, then in 1904, a shooting range.
In 1907, Mr. Zimmerman opened Zimmerman’s Café and Saloon, then in 1915 R. Kaiser installed a buffet counter and countertop, after taking over, calling it the “City Café”. In 1918, it became the Paris Grill
Café. In 1920, Perfections Confectionery was added.
A contest was held to replace the Perfections Candy name,
and on April 5, 1921, the name Idle Isle Café was selected, with
Mrs. Waldermar Call winning the contest. She received $10.
P.C. Knudson and his wife, Verabel opened the business we know as Idle Isle Café on May 7, 1921, as an ice cream parlor and candy store. The business continued to grow and when the Paris Grill Café closed, a full-service restaurant was needed. Verabel’s brother, David H. and his wife LaRita Call, joined the Knudson’s providing a full-service family restaurant and candy shop.
During World War II, Idle Japanese Americans were recruited to help with laundry and the storefront. During the war, Idle Isle also helped war veterans at the Bushnell Hospital get back on their feet – liter-
ally. The Knudson’s provided war amputees with free meals
from the cafe if they could make the walk from the hospital to Idle Isle.
The Knudson’s grandson, Richard H. VanDyke, sold the restaurant portion of Idle Isle Café to the Jeppsens in 1994. In 2004, Idle Isle Candy moved to its current location across Main Street.
The unique, early-1900s décor has remained intact. Its handcrafted wood booths, marble and onyx counters, art deco lighting, grandfather clock, Coleman Lamp & Stove Company coffee urns, and old-fashioned candy cases add to the historical atmosphere.
The grandfather clock is understood to have been carved from the bed of a covered wagon that had come across the Plains in the late 1800s.
Sold to the Knudsons by the County Assayer, when his office closed, with the promise that it remain prominent in the public eye. To this day, the grandfather clock remains one of the focal points of Idle Isle
The new owners continue the dream of delivering a quality product at a reasonable price. Idle Isle is committed to providing high-quality ser-
vice, downhome cooking, and a memorable experience that will make you want to come back time and time again.
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!
Monday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Large group private events or caterings available