Cafe, motel offer farmers market for winter

Sarah Binder

For those missing sunny summer farmers markets, Niland’s Cafe and the Colo Motel offer a place to search for the perfect holiday gift — along with a healthy dose of history. 

Located about half an hour east of campus on Lincoln Way, the historic cafe is at the intersection of the first transcontinental highway to stretch from east to west and the first to span the nation from north to south. 

“This is the crossroads of the Lincoln and Jefferson highways,” said Sandra Huemann-Kelly, owner of Niland’s Cafe and the six-unit Colo Motel. “It’s a very historic spot.”

The Holiday Market is in the gas station, which has been restored with historical displays. Six vendors offer food and craft items such as handmade scarves, artisan breads and stained glass. 

The cafe offers traditional road foods such as tenderloins, hamburgers, milkshakes and slices of homemade pies. It also has historic displays, including part of a 1939 Cadillac and vintage neon lights that are lit each night.

All together, the gas station, cafe and motel form one of the last remaining traditional one-stops — with gas, food and lodging in one place. The historic charm and the location make it a destination for history lovers. 

“In the ’50s, it would have been a place for young people to hang out and listen to the jukebox,” Huemann-Kelly said.