The O’Farrell Sisters restaurant was born in 1949 at the bridge on Hwy 71, between East and West Lake Okoboji. Edna Mae and Arlene O’Farrell bought the business from Ike Kissinger who was running for Sheriff of Dickinson County.
In the early years the girls were open seven days a week and had a booming business in no time. The fried chicken dinners on Sunday evenings were especially popular. There were times when the line waiting to get in was so long they’d have to lock the door and would often run out of chicken!
In 1959 Arlene married and moved to Tallahassee, Florida with her husband Furman Henderson. Edna Mae and Ferne continued in the restaurant, moving to its present location that same year. This spot had a garden and chicken coup, which was moved to the house across the street.
Ferne died in 1974 and Edna Mae in 1978. Arlene sold the business to nieces Joyce Gapinski, Jo Ann Anderson, Charlotte Sarvie and Cheri Petersen (these are married names). The nieces successfully ran the restaurant from 1979 through 2003. After losing Jo Ann in 1997 and Cheri in 2002, Joyce and Charlotte decided to sell after the 2003 season.
The rest is to be continued…