Local Eatery Still Serving Fresh, Homestyle Cuisine After More Than 30 Years
Fritz Helmuth, owner of Tiffany’s Restaurant in Topeka, firmly believes many people have become better individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve heard a lot of people tell me they are going to make something good out of this,” Helmuth says. “I’ve seen people being kind to each other, and we have all figured out how to do things differently. I tell them to keep your faith, and try to take advantage of this time to work on something you [previously] didn’t have time for.”
Helmuth has used the time to figure out a plan for catering at Tiffany’s.
“It’s something I’ve really wanted to do, and this time has allowed me to really plan ahead,” he says. “I’ve seen other business owners and families in Topeka working on projects they put off, or finding more time to help each other.”
Helmuth, who was born and raised in Topeka, has high praise for Topeka’s residents.
“They have kept my restaurant going since I opened,” Helmuth says. “When I started Tiffany’s, it was just a sandwich shop that seated 58 people. It was previously Anita’s Drive-In. You could just get sandwiches and fries.”
Helmuth also owns S&H Metal Products Inc., a leading custom sheet metal fabricator in Topeka, and Freedom Finish Works, a subsidiary of S&H Metal also located in Topeka.
“I like keeping busy,” he says. “I have a great, friendly staff at Tiffany’s that takes care of all the day-to-day restaurant operations.”
Helmuth and his wife Tina bought Anita’s Drive-In from Larry and Anita Christner, and named the restaurant after his youngest daughter Tiffany.
“We opened on June 4, 1987, on Tiffany’s fourth birthday, and we have been growing ever since,” Helmuth says.
He expanded Tiffany’s in 1992 to accommodate more guests.
“We made the restaurant bigger, and added a lot more room so we could have 194 seats,” Helmuth says. “It really made a big difference, and we started serving a lot more different types of homestyle meals.”
At that point Helmuth added mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy, noodles, bean salad, vegetables and many other tasty items to the menu.
“We have become well known for our fresh-baked pies and large list of different tossed salads,” Helmuth says. “We have had a lot of people come back because they love the food.”
Customer favorites include the prime rib, roasted chicken and roast beef. The cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches are also a big hit.
“Our delicious ribs, fish, pasta salads, potato salads and soups are also very popular here,” Helmuth says. “We have the best potato soup in the world. Our deserts are also real good. We have cake, puddings, soft-serve ice cream and dipped ice cream, which we just started.”
Helmuth says Tiffany’s pasta salad, potato salad, cheeseburger chowder and chicken noodle soup have also gained a strong following.
“Our chili soup is so good we had a guy sneak some out,” Helmuth says. “He came in wearing a long trench coat. The waitresses asked if he needed anything. He said no. He was just looking. Everyone went back to what they were doing, and he made his way to the salad bar, filled his thermos with chili soup, and left. I took it as a compliment that he liked the soup so much. I would have given him some to take home with him.”
During the month of April, Tiffany’s gave out free meals to local school children, and gave free food to the doctors and nurses at Parkview LaGrange Hospital.
“People have really supported us during this time, and kept us going,” Helmuth says.
Tiffany’s Restaurant is located at 414 East Lake Street in Topeka. Current hours of operation for take-out orders are Mon. through Sat. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 260-593-2988 or visit tiffanystopeka.com.