(Photo: Dave Zollinger)
If you’re searching for an unusual place to take your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, consider the Olympia Candy Kitchen in Goshen, where you can spin on a stool at the long counter and watch a real soda fountain at work. The place has been in business since 1912, and visitors say they can taste the history in a bite of the Olympia’s signature candy and sandwiches.
Olympia, with a red-and-white awning, occupies the first floor of a nineteenth-century commercial building at 136 North Main Street, across from the Elkhart County courthouse.
Kare Anderson’s family has owned the Olympia Candy Kitchen since the 1920s, and it’s safe to say there would have been no Kare Anderson without the soda fountain. In 1912, Sam Hussmuss started a soda fountain called the Columbia, serving up ice cream, sodas, and drinks. Kare’s great-grandfather Nicholas Paflas and great-grandmother Leona met when both worked there. They bought the business in 1920, changed its name to Olympia (to honor Nick’s Greek heritage) and expanded the store’s offerings to include food and homemade candy. Since then, three more generations of the family have grown up at Olympia, carrying on the tradition.
Just about everything is homemade, from the caramels and chocolates to the mayonnaise. Chocolate turtles take the best-seller honor, but devotees recommend the Olive Nut Sandwich – an unlikely but delicious mixture of chopped green olives and cashews served on toast with lettuce and made-from-scratch mayo.
(Photo: The Elkhart Truth)
The original wooden candy counter showcases almost 30 types of hand-made chocolates, along with roasted nuts, cinnamon balls, gummy candies, and seasonal confections. The shop sells candies online, too, shipping throughout the United States. They’ll even gift wrap the box and include a card for no extra charge.
Olympia is open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon pick-me-ups Thursday through Tuesday (closed Wednesdays). The shop closes at 5 p.m. on weekdays, earlier on weekends. Check out the website for complete information and online ordering: http://olympiacandykitchen.com/index.html.
About Hidden Gems Indiana
Each week Indiana Landmarks uses insider knowledge to highlight historic places worth a visit, from the quirky to the sublime: small towns, neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, cemeteries, scenic drives, museums—you get the idea. Learn more about Indiana Landmarks at www.indianalandmarks.org.