Fair diner

For nearly 70 years, the Salem Lutheran Church Dining Hall has served up the foundation of a good day at the fair: a hearty breakfast and a bottomless cup of coffee. 


The Salem Lutheran Dining Hall has a rich family history; many of today's volunteers have parents and grandparents who started it all. Brothers Harry and Ed Zieba, Bud Hawkins and Harold Lorentzen manned the coffee pots in 1972.
The Salem Lutheran Dining Hall also has a walk-up counter.
Fans lined up outside the Salem Diner for breakfast and coffee during the morning rush.
Greg Smegel serves coffee in the dining hall and has been volunteering since 1971.
Greg Smegel served coffee and chatted with customers.
Phil Blanding rolled up the shades to open the dining hall screen room to the morning breeze.
Bruce Zieba (background) flipped the pancakes as his cousin Jim Zieba (foreground) brewed the famous coffee. Jim holds the record for brewing 97 pots of egg coffee in one day at 40 cups per pot. Jim also says he clocks 6 to 8 miles per day just walking coffee from the kitchen to the front counter. Jim took over where his dad Ed left off. Ed Zieba was one of the original organizers of the Salem Dining Hall.
Egg coffee is made by mixing two cups of coffee grounds with one egg and stirring it all together, then pouring the grounds into a boiling pot of water.
Servers Karen Berry, 13 (left), and Julia Peterson, 14, delivered breakfast plates of pancakes and eggs with bacon.
Server Julia Peterson, 14, holds a classic breakfast plate of pancakes and eggs with bacon.
The Katt family of Stillwater starts their fair visit every year with a stop at the Salem Lutheran Church Diner for breakfast.
Master coffee brewer Jim Zieba checked the supply as customers sipped their egg coffee.
Salem Lutheran Church has been running a dining hall at the State Fair for 69 years.
Wayne Anderson and Lorraine Gause wrapped silverware in white napkins on the back porch for servers to hand out in the dining hall.
Wayne Anderson wrapped silverware.
Coffee pots now decorate the walls where seed caps once hung.
The Salem Lutheran Dining Hall has a rich family history, with many volunteers simply picking up where their parents and grandparents left off.