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Iconic Iowa Eatery Cronks Cafe Closes Amid Pandemic

DENISON, Iowa — It started in 1929 as a community restaurant, over the years it’s welcomed hungry travelers along Highway 30 here.

Now, the owners, after surveying the situation, and the closure imposed by the Governor due to COVID-19, have concluded they should close the restaurant and move toward retirement, sooner, rather than later.

I don’t see this having a positive outcome for at least another 6 to 9 months,” said Eric Skoog, who owns the cafe with his wife Terri. “I think you probably talk to most people in the restaurant business, they would say the same thing I said I don’t wanna go backwards and then I have to spend the next three or four years going forward in the finances of it.”

So now Cronks has closed, and Skoog is looking for a buyer. Everything is left and ready, stacks of cups, salt shakers on the counter, it’s all ready to go. This stop along the old Historic Lincoln Highway ( now Highway 30) is filled with it’s own history. There have been many politicians of all parties, some famous, and others not so much.

“Biden was here, I got my picture taken with him,” said Skoog. Jesse Jackson was also here.”

Cronks was also a stop for Hollywood actress Donna Reed, who is still on every Christmas in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She would return here to her hometown to visit her Dad who lived here.

“A lot of the older people she would always stop and talk to, she loved them dearly,” said Skoog. “She was genuine.”

Cronks was started by L.J. Cronk, back in 1929. The Cronk family members also ran other Cronk’s in Guthrie Center, and in Spirit Lake.