WARRENTON — A dozen hungry stomachs stood in line before the doors even opened at 4 p.m. They were all waiting on the same thing: Log Inn’s famous fried chicken and home style sides.
Located in the rural town of Warrenton, Ind., the Log Inn has stood the test of time for a family-owned business. Over the past 53 years, the restaurant’s ownership has been passed down through three generations of the Elpers family. The Log Inn isn’t officially recognized as “the oldest restaurant in Indiana” based off the past half a century though.
The Log Inn actually opened in 1825, originally as a stagecoach stop and trading post for the not yet established town. It has changed owners fourteen times since then, but has always remained a place for food, drink and dance.
As far as history goes, however, the restaurant is most famous for the soon to be 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln stopping there in November of 1844. The original log room where he was during his stay still stands to this day and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Christmas season happens to be the busiest time of year for the Log Inn.
“I bought 10,000 placemats last year and we served about 8,000…in one month,” said co-owner Kathy Holzmeyer, who also works as the head chef in the kitchen.
Kathy, her sister Trish Elpers and her brother Daryl Elpers, who fries the famous chicken with his wife Francie, inherited the restaurant from their parents, Rita and Gene Elpers. Rita, who still works as a hostess and manages the payroll, was passed down the restaurant from her parents, Pete and Victoria Rettig. The Rettig’s purchased the historic business in 1947 and it has been in the family ever since.