Harold’s, in Poseyville, Indiana, is the only place in town where one can dine on a Screaming Viking.
Anything on the menu can, at the customer’s request, be turned into a Screaming Viking, by adding pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch dressing and jalapenos to their order. The combo is named after the local junior high and high school sports teams, the North Posey Vikings, where I attended school, just a few miles out of town.
Harold’s hasn’t always been a diner. It opened as the Marian Theatre in 1930, and in 1937 got a makeover when it reopened as Nash’s Soda Shop. In 1950, it was remodeled again, by Harold Schweikhart, as a diner. Although it has continued to change hands with the retirements of each consecutive owner, it has remained Harold’s since then.
For decades Harold’s has been the only diner on Main Street, and for many years, only a wall separated it from my great-great-uncle’s barber shop, where Uncle Sam cut my hair occasionally, while my mother shopped at the small grocer and dry goods store across the street, at Hirsch’s. After her shopping, and my haircut, we sometimes had lunch at Harold’s before heading home.
Harold’s is again under new ownership, that of local couple, Matt and Kristy Downey. Kristy has done her research on the history of the business, and has made an impressive effort to incorporate it into the decor. What used to be Uncle Sam’s barbershop is now additional storage space, brick-oven space, and even office space, for the new owners.
In the restaurant proper, on the wall above the booth seating, are displays of the first and last movies shown, when it was Marian’s Theatre. The original Marian’s Exit sign is also on display. The bar area is reminiscent of a 50s-style soda shop, and recently the booths and chairs have been reupholstered with retro glossy and sparkly, multi-colored seat covers. They match well with the bright white, deep red and chrome hardware on the walls and fixtures, keeping the interior design lively, upbeat and cozy.
Harold’s is open for breakfast and lunch, six days a week, with breakfast being served until 11, and all day on Saturday. It closes early in the afternoon and is closed on Sundays.
Their menu offers traditional diner fare, with an added bonus of Kristy’s homemade pies and cakes. She is the only one who makes them, and they’re so popular, that often they’re sold whole, not long after she pulls them from the oven, which keeps her baking frequently. Diners have a choice of lemon meringue, chocolate cream, coconut cream, and a variety of cakes.
Kristy said she used to enjoy crafting and sewing before she and her husband took over Harold’s. Now, even though the diner is closed on Sunday, it’s still a work-day for them, so she has little time for other interests these days. However, a few of her crafted items are available for sale at the check-out counter.
My friends and I have visited Harold’s a few times since the Downey’s took ownership, and each time, we’ve enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere.
When you visit, I recommend an order of waffle-fries, served with a Screaming Viking, and a glass of their awesome, sweet iced tea. Don’t over do it though, or you’ll run out of room for a slice of pie, or a piece of Blueberry Velvet cake for dessert!