K’s Hamburger Shop is a cornerstone of Troy dining. The diner opened July 31, 1935 (which means it celebrated its 82nd birthday this year). Michael Scheib is a fourth generation K’s customer. He has worked at the establishment for the past 8 years and he recently became the third-generation in his family to own a business in Troy.
His connection to Miami County:
I’m from Miami County. My mom owns Expressions of the Home and my grandpa owned a business in Troy. I’m a third-generation business owner here in Troy.
About K’s Hamburger Shop:
We turned 82 yesterday. K’s was started in 1935 by Paul and David Klein. Doris was Paul’s wife and she helped out a great deal. We were across the street from 1935 to 1940. In 1940 they moved across the street to where it is now. The original building ended where that counter is. It was ten stools. I’m having the original blueprints framed so we can display them. I wish they were finished so I could show them to you. In 1948 they added the red booths. In the 1950s they added that room over there. We call that the “new room” even though it was done in ‘58 [laughs].
We still grind our own meat and cook on a wet grill. That was typical of diners in the 1930s. When the flat top grill came out diners switched to that but we never made the change. We do change the oil that the hamburgers are cooked in. There’s a rumor that we haven’t changed the oil since the ’30s but we do it every night [laughs]. I’ve done it myself. We also have salads and five homemade soups. We make malted milkshakes and pie.
I’ve been here for 8 years, so a tenth of the time that K’s has been here [laughs]. I want to take the shop to 100 years and we’ll see how far past that I can go. I dress the way the diner employees dressed in the 1930s. Mr. Klein wore a tie, white shirt, and pants and a white apron. I get too dirty so I don’t wear a white apron [laughs]. In the ‘30s the color white signified the cleanliness of the restaurant. That’s why the walls are white and they wore white.
I met my wife here at K’s. She’s a teacher at Troy Christian. Her parents have a dairy farm out here on the corner of 41 and 202. She’s a fourth-generation K’s customer. I’m also a fourth-generation K’s customer. My wife came in here and sat at the counter and that’s how we started talking. I owe a great deal to this hamburger shop. [laughs]
On the community response to K’s over the years:
The community response has been very good, of course. The average lifespan of a new restaurant is two years thereabouts. So the fact that we’ve been here for 82 years is pretty impressive. We’re the first sandwich shop in Troy and I think we’re the third oldest business in Troy.
They started the restaurant in the middle of the Great Depression. Mr. Klein said, “If you want a job you have to make a one.” They knew the business was going to make it when they could clear $20 a week. That’s amazing to think about when they were selling hamburgers for a nickel. They were very honored that their customers would spend their nickel with them.
What do you love most about Miami County?
K’s! [laughs] It’s very much home and there’s no greater place than home.
What are your Miami County favorites or recommendations for out-of-town visitors?
I should say my mom’s shop, so check out Expressions of the Home. Haren’s Market is what used to be my grandpa’s shop. Folks should check out the different downtowns and support the local shops. It’s the best way to get the feel of the place. I’m pretty boring. [laughs] I don’t get out much. I’m here six days a week and on the seventh day, I go to church. If I’m not here, I’m either at Kroger buying something for the shop, at church or at home!
K’s Hamburger Shop
117 East Main Street Troy, Ohio
This story first appeared on the Miami County Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Follow author, storyteller and interviewer, Courtney Denning, at ThisOhioLife.com.