1970s Lawrence: The
*** Glen Sohl died of cancer July 6, 2014. He was a good
In or around 1974, a couple of young guys named Glen Sohl and Todd
Murrell opened a restaurant called the Cornucopia Cafe.
It was a small place at 1801 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence,
across from Dillon's.
It featured the Midwest's first salad bar as well as whole-grain
bread baked on the premises.
At that time I was working as a cook at the Village Inn Pancake
House just off of 9th and Iowa, but I was hip to food that's good
for you and tastes good.
I lobbied the Village Inn's manager to emulate some of the healthy
aspects I saw at the Cornucopia,
but of course the Village Inn was a corporate chain with a track
record of success selling food that tasted good but wasn't good
Nowadays, most of us take big salad-and-soup bars and whole-grain
bread for granted. Back then, it was pretty novel.
The Cornucopia, or, as we usually said, the Corno, played a
significant part in my life in the second half of the 1970s.
During the Billy Spears Band days, Jimmy Ray, Bob, and I would
play there as the Wakarusa Valley Bluegrass Boys on a weekday
night when we weren't travelling.
Michael Roark was with us on mandolin before his accident, then
Buddy once HE learned mandolin.
We played for food. At the time, Lee McBee cooked there on
the day shift.
Then, when the Spears band had disbanded in 1978, I went to work
for the "branch" Cornucopia at the Virginia Inn on west 6th
street. I was the opening cook during the week.
Apparently the Virginia Inn location didn't make enough money,
because it closed. I went to work at the original store on
Glen tried to make me into a kitchen manager, but I'm really not
the managerial type.
Soon thereafter, Bud Pettit went to work in the kitchen as
well. Bud and I worked many lunches together, and I remember
I thank Glen Sohl for the photos below, which I downloaded from his website
Above: The original Corno. The bakery was in
the house to the left.
Right: Glen's daughters in front of the restaurant.
Left: The neon sign.
Above: Could be one of Eric Swartz's Volvos?
| Salad and soup bar
Above: As it looked inside around 1976.
Left: Lawrence's first restaurant mural, painted by
Above: Pastah's was a short-lived "fast Italian"
concept next door.
I developed the recipes and made a LOT of lasagna.
Left: The way the Corno looked when you walked in
the front door.
Please forgive me for the inevitable omissions and forgotten
names. In no particular order:
Mary Ellen Bergman
Branham "Brandy" Rendlen
Bobby (dishwasher) - last name?
Curtis (dishwasher) - last name?
Sally (Mike Sweeney's GF for a while) - last name?
Victoria (waitress at the Virginia Inn) - last name? She
stunned me one morning by planting a big wet smooch on my lips,
out of the blue...
Boroslav "Bobo" March - let me stay in a room in his house for a
while. Thanks! [RIP]
The Iranian dishwasher, married to a short round girl who also
worked in the kitchen
Eric Swartz - Eric, I finally converted and drove Volvos for about
15 years... after spending too much money on them, it's Toyota for
Kim Olson (ran Pastah's)
Update, late 2013: Here in St. Louis, I work with a guy who
used to eat at the Cornucopia all the time.
Copyright 2014 by Andy Curry