Originally it was known as the Rainbow Café, established by Amanda Webb in 1940 and later purchased by Joe and Jenny Fessler. Following Joe’s death, Bob Marwitz bought the tavern. He updated the décor with some antique lanterns and changed the name to reflect the new look.
The father of a young family in the early 1960s, Don Feldott was an employee of Moser Lumber but picked up extra cash working for Marwitz. In 1966, Don and his wife Pat decided to buy The Lantern and started a 50 year family tradition.
Don and Pat’s children grew up at The Lantern, helping sweep the floor before school in the morning and walking back from SS. Peter & Paul to eat lunch there.
The Lantern was also a popular lunch spot in the 1970s for Bell Labs and Amoco employees since there were far fewer restaurant options then.
The Lantern has been remodeled over the past 50 years. The old horseshoe-shaped bar is gone and a back room was enclosed to make space for a few more tables. The façade has been updated, too, including the Century Walk mural, “A City in Transit” on the Washington Street wall.
Pat passed on in 2007 and Don has let the next generation take charge. If you stop in for a beer or a bowl of their famous chili, you may run into son Bill, daughter-in-law Teri or grand-daughter Kalie.
Some regulars have been hanging around the entire 50 years, too. “So many people tell me they met their husband or wife here,” Teri said. “This place is important to people.” The Lantern has even hosted a few engagement and wedding photo sessions.
The Lantern is planning a 50th anniversary bash for later in the summer so watch for details and help them celebrate!