RE: The Toddle House
Gotta love the net. Taking a break from work, I randomly Googled Toddle House, a place I worked in the 60's while attending the University of Wisconsin, in Madison– and I discover this discussion of the chain.
We had about 10 stools and no booths. One of the most distinctive things I recall is how a lot of the walls were covered by stainless steel. In fact, we sometimes jokingly answered the phone: “Toddle a Go Go - come visit our famous aluminum room.” Go Go places were the rage back then.
We were a long way from the Southern corporate offices and anarchy often reigned in our little family of employees. And yes, as someone observed, there was something freakish about a lot of them (we used to get complaints that one of our waitresses, who was hugely overweight, would follow cute customers into the bathroom and proposition them.)
As I recall the steak it was a small nondescript piece of meat. One time a couple of us decided to cook up some nice porterhouse steaks we brought at Krogers, and got several steak orders while ours was sizzling on the grill. When we served them the customers asked, “what’s that”, pointing to the grill. “Our steak” we answered. “What’s this” (pointing to their plate) “Your steak.”
I’d worked at a number of other restaurants and it was wonderful not having to give a damn what the customers thought. There was really no one to complain to. But I think we actually attracted a lot of college kids who liked the anything-goes atmosphere.
The only preparation I recall our hash browns receiving was blanching (half cook whole potatoes by boiling.) The potatoes were then cut into pieced with a knife, and ready to cook. The person above was right about the paprika and cooking them in oil in a small skillet, flipping them from time to time.
I worked the night shift a number of times by myself (11:00pm to 7:00am) and you had to move quick to take orders, cook and serve the food, and make sure people paid their bills, all by yourself. I remember having a couple of beers myself, in preparation for the bar rush (Wisconsin bars all closed at 1:00 at the time) when the hoard of drunken students stood two deep shouting orders at me. All in all, it was a great place, met some great people and generally had a fine time. Glad someone remembers the old chain.