Grouchy's Cafe

Update! "Grouchy Don Johnson was my dad." That's not the sign though.

A Google search today for "Grouchy's Cafe" returns nothing:
No results found for "grouchy's cafe".

Now, I know for a fact that years ago Grouchy's Cafe was a truck stop somewhere off I-94 between Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Our family used to pass it on trips to grandma's house when I was a kid. I remember looking out for the sign from the road. As I recall, the sign was in the shape of a standing man, presumably Grouchy himself, holding a placard over his head that read, not surprisingly, "Grouchy's Cafe." He may have had on an Indian headdress... or my imagination may have added that over the years. My vision of him has him looking a bit like Woody Allen. Weird.

I also remember the place because my parents accidentally left one of my sisters and me there! Once back on the freeway, they had to get to the next exit and double back, and that took a while. I was old enough to figure out what happened, I think my little sister was a bit scared though.

In any case, I'm impressed that there is no record on the net of its existence. So I'm writing this post to give it the immortality it deserves. If you've found this post via Google, leave a message, and share your memory of Grouchy's Cafe.

Ann says: I've done the same websearch before too. Nada. I'm not sure it was on I-94, though. Might have been on one of the smaller highways.

Steve: Yes, I thought that too. Perhaps it was off the state highway that was there before I-94 was built. It must have been near the freeway though.


mndandy said...

I seem to recall about 3 of them! One just outside of Eau Claire on I-94 that we always stopped at. I used to get so excited to see the scowling Grouchy, ready to hurl his sign over his head. They had good pancakes!

I think there was another one near Black River Falls maybe? Finally, the one with the Indian headdress was along Hwy. 24 around Chippewa Falls (I would have been about 5 years old so the memory is very fuzzy.) There might have been others on the way to Green Bay as well?

Thanks for posting this, I've googled every so often for photographic evidence but this is the closest I've come!

mndandy said...

According to a blurb in the local paper there was apparently one in Ladysmith too.

The Grouchy's dynasty?!

SteveBrooklineMA said...


Thanks! I'm glad someone else remembers. The comment at this post

is from Grouchy's son. He's got the full history.

Tell Minnesota I miss her. Even in the wintertime!

Andrew said...

Grouchy was my great grandpa :)