Oregon History

Hi-Ho Pancake Restaurant

Located in Roseburg, Ore., the restaurant featured an ultra modern place of good food, just 49 seconds off Interstate 5. Service stations and comfortable motels nearby, the home of the “never empty coffee pot.”

A closer shot reveals a miner pinging away at some sort of gold wheel a lumberjack whacking on his wood:

Google shows a listing for the restaurant – any Roseburg folks know if the miner sign is still intact?

14 replies on “Hi-Ho Pancake Restaurant”

I don’t think that’s a gold miner, I think it’s supposed to be a lumberjack chopping a particularly thick log.

Steve is right as rain: it’s a lumberjack in Roseburg, the self-proclaimed “Timber Capitol [sic] of the World.”

A block from the center of the 1959 explosives-truck blast. If you visit, you’ll notice all the buildings for about six blocks around date from 1960-61.

The Hi-Ho expanded a bit, though I do not know how far. I believe what is now the Denny’s on Clackamas Drive began as a Hi-Ho, built around 1971 or ’72.

Here are a few facts for the record:

1. The Hi-Ho was a restaurant chain founded by Leo Qualls. Four locations – Salem, Roseburg, Clackamas, and another in Hawaii.

2. The Hi-Ho in Roseburg opened in October 1964. Five years after the Roseburg blast of 1959.

3. Its style of architecture was inspired by Sambo’s, another American restaurant chain, which was founded in 1957 (Sambo’s later changed its name in 1979 after controversy over its name).

4. My father, John Hokanson, managed the Hi-Ho beginning in July 1974. He then purchased it from Leo Qualls in 1984.

5. Denny’s later purchased the Salem and Clackamas locations.

6. My father retired from his career as a restaurateur in August 2002 but still owns the property and leases the building to Chi’s Garden Chinese restaurant.

7. The detail of the Hi-Ho sign in the photograph shows a lumberjack chopping a block of wood with an axe. For Roseburg was known as the “Timber Capital of the World”.

– Eric Hokanson

Thanks for sharing this, I grew up with the Hi-Ho in Salem and loved that place. I had my first delicious Swedish Pancakes there. My first slice of Black Bottom Pie, there is not a pie to compare to Hi-Ho’s pies. My dad was stuck on the Rotisserie Chicken, which you could see roasting on a long rod all in a row if you came in before the dinner rush. Loved that place!

My mother worked there as a waitress for 26 years. Does anyone remember Juanita Sadler?

“Cakes, Steaks and Shakes” was the catch phrase that was prominently displayed on the façade. Some folks might have classified The Hi-Ho as a “pancake restaurant” but in actuality it was so much more; we served Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Something like IHOP, Denny’s, or Shari’s but with a touch of class. The Hi-Ho was famous in Oregon and parts of the West Coast for its omelettes, specialty pancakes (e.g. Swedish pancakes), beefy baked potato, Swedish meatballs, spit-roasted chicken, salmon patty, sweet & sour wings, homemade cornbread, and its seemingly endless selection of homemade pies made from local ingredients (e.g. seasonal berries). The place was so clean and spotless, you could practically eat off the floors. Extremely well-maintained, the landscaping was always pitch perfect. Of course, there were those who tried to imitate an item on the menu, but none did it better!

Another relic from this restaurant-Viletta’s Arts produced a china cup & saucer set. Decoration on the saucer places “Oregon” in green script above “Timber Capital of the World” slogan (brown block) all upon a log end design. To the right is the full road sign but “Coca-Cola” is replaced with “Food” in a square. The backstamp reads Made in U. S. A. rather than the normal Roseburg, Oregon that Villetta West placed on her earlier items. [Viletta’s began around 1958 and was sold off in later years. The full history is sketchy.] We might also expect a plate to have been executed.

For the Capitol city location, the 1984 Salem Dining Guide had it listed at 3680 Market Street NE. Hours were Mon-Sat 6am-10pm Coffee Shop seated 90 and dining room for 65. Sold homemade pies (by whom?) and handled banquests. Tel. 585-1636…wonder who’s answering the ring now?

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