Let’s rewind to 1864! Small town McGregor, IA was home to three man-made sand caves that were used to store beer for what was known as Klein Brewery. The brewery was on a settlement that is known these days as the White Springs Supper club. But this restaurant is more than just a place to eat, it’s a little slice of history.
Just recently, I took a step back in time with the current owners of the White Springs. Robert Yager and his wife, Jennifer partnered with their friends Brandon and Emily Shaefer to bring the Springs back to life after nearly 10 years of being closed. The minute I stepped in the restaurant; nostalgia filled the air as I recalled what it was like to eat there as a kid. Though the building has gone through some renovation and changes, the passion for a family friendly atmosphere remains.
“We want our restaurant to be a family-oriented place to eat and enjoy time together,” states Robert who has over 20 years working as a chef. “I kept a lot of the same recipes and added a few more,” he continues. Robert’s wife, Jennifer is more than the owner of the White Springs, she is also the great granddaughter to Ethel Mann who owned the restaurant since 1949. In 2020, Jennifer and Robert decided they wanted to own a restaurant and so they bought it along with their friends. Each couple also has four kids of their own. “Teaching our kids about running a family business is important,” shared co-owner, Emily. “Our kids help out at the restaurant when we are busy and we want others to feel the sense of family when they come to visit,” continued Emily.
Not only do the owners wish to bring family back to the dining experience, they also plan to bring back some of the history. This includes having bands and dances in the upstairs of the building. In years past, Ethel and her husband, Shorty used to host wedding receptions, dances, and even roller skating. “We definitely want this to be a place that people can rent to host their own events or just get together,” shared Robert. The owners already have several bands booked throughout the summer and hope to put in an outside beer garden. “The more we can do to bring families together in a fun environment, the more we will add to our list of services,” said co-owner, Brandon.
So if you are looking to take a step back in time, head to the White Springs. Happy hour is every day from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Check out their Facebook page for information on upcoming bands or chat with them about using their restaurant for your own gatherings. And if you really like history, while you are there ask about the book written by Ethel’s daughter, Doris. You will be glad you did!