Casper's Is 100 Year's Old In 2009

I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed a bowl of Casper’s chili. Here’s a timeline on the business that continues to be a tradition in Springfield. Scroll down to view the photos.

Casper Lederer opened for business in 1909 near the Landers Theater downtown.

Casper moved to a Quonset hut on S. Glenstone across from the Plaza in 1948.

When Casper’s health began to fail in 1966, his son Charles joined the business. Etta Mae Buckner also joined that year and continues to run the kitchen today.

Belinda Harriman joined as a part time cashier in 1978. She gradually become more involved and entered an informal partnership with Charles in 1984.

The lease on S. Glenstone was lost and Casper’s closed at that location in June of 1985. Charles passed away shortly afterwards, and Belinda Harriman took over the business and reopened downtown on W. Walnut Street in November 1985.

KOLR-TV did a feature on Casper's that you can view here.



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After 37 years on S. Glenstone, Casper's moved to 601 W. Walnut in 1985.

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Only the prices have changed since Casper and Charles set the original menu. Two items have been added in recent years...Frito Pie and Casperito. These were requested by regular customers and finally added for everyone to enjoy.

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Chili is always overflowing the bowl.

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Some of the regulars are pretty passionate about getting their chili fix. This gentleman is preparing to partake of an open face chiliburger.

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The kitchen is small but efficient. Etta insures that everything is prepared and served the same way Casper did it.

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This Garland stove was purchased used by Casper when he opened in 1909. Some people claim the flavor of the grill is what makes the burgers taste so good. All six burners are in use with a ham cooking on the back burner behind the chili pot.

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Etta prepares a burger for an early diner before the noon rush.

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It was raining when the lunch rush hour began, but that didn’t stop people from waiting their turn to get inside.

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Things are booming with every seat filled and people waiting. With only 29 seats, it’s common to find yourself sharing a table or booth with strangers.

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The lunch rush is hectic, but nobody has to wait long to be served.

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This fellow got there ahead of his friends and ordered a double chiliburger. The orders for his friends are on the way.

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Good food and the unique atmosphere keeps people coming back again and again.

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This is Brendan’s first season. He’s working on a pot of chili meat while Etta mans the grill during rush our.

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Tom and Karla tour the counter to make sure everyone has what they need. Tom began his career at Casper’s 20 years ago when he was only 17. This is Karla’s first season.

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Belinda collects from these customers. There are no guest checks. Everyone pays on the honor system as they leave.


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