Olympia Candy Kitchen's Wall of Fame captures restaurant regulars

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By: Kate Stoltzfus
kstoltzfus@elkharttruth.com

Walk into the Olympia Candy Kitchen and you might just have your picture taken.

A photography project called the Olympia Wall of Fame highlights frequent visitors of Elkhart County’s oldest restaurant.

In a style somewhat reminiscent of Humans of New York, Grant Beachy of Electric Angel Photography in Goshen snaps diners at the lunch counter, alongside a quote or snippet of conversation.

“It started out of curiosity more than anything,” said Beachy, who approached owner Kare Anderson with the idea. “I would eat there a lot and saw people who have been coming in for a long time.”

The posts started Jan. 17 on Olympia’s Facebook page. One picture from July 30 featuring regular Kirby Whitehead, who worked at Olympia in 1959, has 377 “likes.” It’s a favorite of Beachy’s, who said Whitehead had found out his cancer was in remission just before he stopped into the diner. “He hadn’t even told his kids yet, and he was so excited,” Beachy said.

There were 19 people featured as of Aug. 7. Beachy has no official end date in mind, and will plan to continue as long as the project is meaningful for him and others. He eats at the Olympia about five times a week with his old film camera, and always gets the same breakfast: two eggs over easy with toast and bacon.

“My goal is just to tell one story, or part of a story,” Beachy said.

Photos from the Olympia Wall of Fame project can also be viewed on Tumblr.

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