SIOUX CITY | It was the place where you could get a big breakfast (or lunch or dinner) for a very reasonable price.

That's how retired Sioux City police Sgt. Mike McCormick remembered the Palmer House Restaurant, located at 3400 Gordon Drive.

"The Palmer House was where I'd go on my break," he said, recalling the 24-hour eatery. "Since I worked the night shift, the Palmer House was often the only restaurant still open."

A favorite place for truckers coming off U.S. Highway 20 and farmers visiting the nearby stockyards, the Palmer House Restaurant was opened by Albert C. Palmer in 1957.

Sioux City Public Museum archival clerk Tom Munson said Palmer also opened the adjacent Palmer House Motel, at 3440 Gordon Drive, in 1960.

During the early 1970s, a service station was added to the property, which was sold to Sam Raphtis in 1973.

Raphtis credited the Palmer House Restaurant's success to its loyal customers as well as to a simple business formula.

"(People come back) because of our good food and our good service," he told the Journal in 1988.

That also was the year Raphtis added a small convenience store to the Palmer House's service station.

He eventually closed the Palmer House Restaurant in 2001. 

Although the Palmer House Motel is still around under different ownership, the adjacent restaurant has changed hands many times over the years.

Currently, the site is home to El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant.

McCormick -- who retired in January after 39 years with the Sioux City Police Department -- has fond memories of the original Palmer House Restaurant.

"The food wasn't fancy," he said, "but it was good."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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