In the summer of 1936, the Kan-Ya-To Inn (today’s Sherwood Inn) hosted Governor and Mrs. Paul V. McNutt of Indiana for an overnight stopover. Before departing from the village, they breakfasted at the Krebs.
McNutt later served as Commissioner to the Philippines, chairman of the War Manpower Commission and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. Although once thought of as a candidate for the Presidency, McNutt did not always receive the best press. In 1942, possibly in reaction to the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines, McNutt urged “the extermination of the Japanese in toto.” When asked for clarification, McNutt said that he meant the Japanese people as a whole, not just the Japanese military. One week later, McNutt stated that the comments reflected his personal views and not official U.S. government policy.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt privately referred to McNutt as “that platinum blond S.O.B from Indiana.” But the Governor and Mrs. McNutt did comment on the beauty of the village and the lake.
Skaneateles sketches by artist Scott Ouderkirk
Posted in 1951, with note, “Dear James, Ate our dinner here today. Do hope you may have a chance to stop here someday. 2nd best I ever had.” And the first?
It is not too often that we see a new (old) postcard of The Krebs.
In 1960, Holiday magazine offered this: “After much thought and consulting notebooks and menus, not to speak of a certain amount of dissension, we have selected for these pages thirty restaurants, outside New York [City], which we recommend as good examples of the upward surge in public dining.” And we made the list.
39 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles, N.Y.
Nothing has changed at this shrine of American home cooking since that day in 1899 when Fred R. Krebs first loaded a platter chin-high with chicken and dropped half a pound of farm butter in the crater of a monstrous mound of mashed potatoes. You don’t dine at Krebs: you eat. You sit at long tables, elbow to elbow, and close by strangers who are invariably nice. Course after course is brought in and you eat what you want and as much as you want.
Dinner starts with an appetizer of shrimp, melon or fruit cup, followed by a choice of three soups. The waitress staggers under the vast tray, divided between fried chicken and sliced steak. Help yourself to mashed white or candied sweet potatoes, or both, and don’t forget the gravy. Fill in the remaining spaces with odds and ends, like creamed mushrooms on toast, fresh garden vegetables, home-baked brown bread or rolls, and sticky cinnamon buns. Salads of several kinds appear. And just when you are ready to whisper “help,” a beaming waitress unloads ice cream, pie, strawberry shortcake in berry time, local melon in late summer, and heaps of chocolate brownies and angel food cake at all times.
Nothing here to interest the fastidious gourmet with Continental leanings. But travelers yearning for food as it used to be have been known to swing 200 miles off course to drive to Skaneateles for a genteel Sunday orgy. Prices are moderate, reservations imperative.
“Nathan Schweitzer, the largest poultry dealer in the United States, whose business is located in New York City, made a special trip to Krebs, about which he had heard so much, to take dinner, last week. The following was published in the Hotel World Review, the national weekly newspaper of the hotel business:
“Nathan Schweitzer’s discriminating judgment and appreciation of epicurean treats was completely and pleasantly regaled while visiting ‘The Krebs,’ at Skaneateles, N.Y., last week. According to Mr. Schweitzer, the art of dining has reached the acme of perfection at this hospitable establishment on a beautiful lake twenty miles from Syracuse. F.R. Krebs and his charming wife have successfully operated this popular eating place for thirty-five years, gaining an enviable reputation for delicious home-cooked meals featuring fresh garden vegetables. A bountiful and well balanced table d’hote dinner is served with immaculate and unusual service. Each course is served by a different waitress specially instructed in the service and preparation of each dish. ‘The Krebs’ is open from May to November, serving as many as 1,500 meals daily.”
— “An Appreciation of Krebs” in The Skaneateles Press, June 28, 1934