Coe, Nancy (Sept. 27, 1961). “Walt Warmoth Opens New Restaurant; Enters 21st Year of Business in the City.” Daily Eastern News, p.10.
A cigarette and a cup of coffee are the trademarks of a man who can usually be seen leaning against the cash register at Walt’s Cafe - Walt Warmoth.
Walt had been in business for some 20 years at two locations near the campus. His restaurants have been favorite gathering places for students and faculty alike.
Warmoth’s latest venture, the Ko-Op Cafe, opened Sept. 17, on the location previously occupied by the original Ko-Op.
The old Ko-Op, Walt’s first restaurant, was erected on Lincoln St., just east of Seventh, in March, 1940. It served students until 1959, when construction of Route 17 (State Hwy 16) resulted in the condemnation of the building.
Warmoth then started Walt’s Cafe, often called the “Open,” on the corner of Fourth and Lincoln. The new Ko-Op was open for business only six weeks after his August decision to re-build the cafe.
“Things have started off real well at the Ko-Op,” said Walt. ”It’s a good traffic corner.”
Under the direction of Larry Mizener, who has been with Walt as manager since 1952, the Ko-Op will operate much the same as Walt’s. Both restaurants function entirely with student help consisting of some 30 men.
“Many of the guys who have worked for me in the past have tremendously good jobs now?, Walt said. “Some have even opened their own restaurants.”
Howard Skidmore, flight-service commander to the carrier that picked up astronaut Alan Shepard after his space flight, worked for Warmoth during his college career. “Skidmore is a good man,” Walt said. “Recently, he sent me pictures of the pick-up. It was really something.”
Walt commented that he never seemed to have many big problems with his businesses. “I suppose I could find some if I really looked, but I just enjoy the work,” he said.
A sports enthusiast and Panther fan, Walt attends most of Eastern’s games, as he said “according to season.”
Walt attended Eastern in 1935 and 1937. He then entered the University of Illinois medical school. When asked just why he left the university, he replied, “I decided that hamburgers smelled better than formaldehyde.”