About ten years ago, when I was selling telephone book advertising, I worked with a girl who had worked at Ethel’s. She told me a story about Ethel’s iconic sign. I don’t remember the details, but the gist of the story is that the owner had stolen the sign from a roadside diner in Texas. Whether it was old and abandoned, or if it was a business deal reneged upon, I don’t recall how the story went except that he had loaded it into the back of a pickup late one night and promptly left town.
I don’t know if it’s true or not and either way, that happened many years ago now and it is what I think of first, when I think about Ethel’s.
The second thing that I think of is the formica tables – Kitchen Tables dating back to the 60’s. The third thing is potato chips. Ethel’s is the only restaurant I know of that serves “chips” as part of their meals.
I was at Ethel’s for a late lunch the other day with Amanda. She had the bean bumps, which are refried bean stuffed tortillas. (I’ve noticed that Amanda likes to eat tortillas). I had the falafel, which I’d recommend although they are puck shaped not round like I’ve always seen them before.
Sign story aside, (there is no mention of it on their website), Ethel’s Lounge is one of those iconic UpTown Waterloo places that has to be experienced. It’s been around for a lot longer than I have (I’ve lived in Waterloo since 2000). If you haven’t been there yet and you like non-pretentious restaurant/pubs, you have to give it a try.
I’ve been before and I’ll be again.
Where: 114 King Street North, Waterloo
For more information please visit website