Camelot, 5300 78th Street West, Bloomington, Minnesota

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Camelot

Camelot 1965
Camelot 2017
Address: 5300 78th Street W
City/locality-
State/province
Bloomington, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1965
Historic Function: Restaurant
Current Function: Business
Architect or source of design: Paul Albitz
Builder: Gerald Rauenhorst
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Stone
First Owner: Hans Skalle

Bloomington Hennepin


Hans Skalle:

"I was the manager of the Interlachen Country Club when I got the idea to open my own restaurant. I thought Bloomington needed something with a continental menu. When my wife, Mavis, and I were in Hawaii for a conference, we saw a restaurant made of stone and we conceived the idea of a restaurant that would look like a castle. My son, Hans II, had been playing with toy knights and said, "Dad, call it `Camelot.'"

Gerald Rauenhorst built the building, and I managed the restaurant. It cost $800,000 to build and was 20,000 square feet. We used Minnesota split field rock and had gas turrets coming out of each side of the moat around the building. Towers too. Paul Albitz designed the interior, using stone and oak paneling. We had a gold carpet custom-made for us. Paul found a suit of armor for the main hallway, and we had the giant chandelier handmade by someone in Winona. We were published in many national magazines because of our interior. Unfortunately, people started to take things--the spears that were on the walls and a beautiful bench from downstairs. Original paintings also disappeared. This happened early, just after we opened, and we had to put big screws in everything to protect it.

I was amazed when we opened. Everybody came. People waited an hour or two to get in. We had to shut the lights off at the entrance, so people wouldn't keep coming. On Saturday nights, we would serve almost 1,000 people. The menu was new and different, and it was an instant success.

The one thing I always felt was poorly done in America was duckling, so I made that one of my specialties. We would flame it at the diner's table, then I would carve it. Dover sole was extremely popular. We flew in fresh seafood from Boston weekly, and I picked it up from the airport myself. I never did cook, but I do know a lot about food and hired the right people. People from all over the country--from New Orleans to San Francisco--tried to steal my employees.

All kinds of people came to the Camelot, including Walter Mondale, Bert Parks, and Harry Reasoner. One of our regular customers was a woman who had a chauffeur and would come at exactly five o'clock, when we opened the doors for dinner. She came every weekend for years and always had the rack of lamb.

We sold the Camelot in 1980 because we were worn out. Mr. Rauenhorst bought it and operated it for a while, then sold it to Bill Mack, a sculptor who uses it as his studio and gallery."

ARTHUR: Each evening, from December to December, Before you drift to sleep upon your cot, Think back on all the tales that you remember Of Camelot. Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story, And tell it strong and clear if he has not, That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory Called Camelot. Camelot! Camelot! Now say it out with pride and joy! TOM: Camelot! Camelot! ARTHUR: Yes, Camelot, my boy! Where once it never rained till after sundown, By eight a.m. the morning fog had flown... Don't let it be forgot That once there was a spot For one brief shining moment that was known As Camelot.

Contents


Memories and stories

Memories

  • Carl Pohlad, Edina. Hans Skalle was a good friend of mine. The Camelot was great and had a better-balanced menu than many of the restaurants around.
  • Dorothy Dolphin, Minneapolis. The Chateaubriand at the Camelot was out of this world.
  • Sharon Sayles Belton, Minneapolis. The atmosphere was wonderful. I felt like I was really in a castle.
  • Andrea Hjelm, Minneapolis. I went to the Camelot for dinner before my junior prom at North High School. It was a great place to go. There were flags flying outside, and it was dark and intimate inside. It was a massive structure, and I remember walking over a moat to enter through these grand, big doors. I think I wore a pink tulle strapless gown that I borrowed from someone who worked with my mother. My sister had done my hair in a twist like a beehive. I was so nervous, I didn't see much else but my date.
  • Holly Mae Dredge, Bloomington. We loved the Camelot. It served French food, elegantly presented. They had quail and a chicken croquette--always served with an outstanding sauce.

The Camelot had a wonderful wine cellar. You would sit and sip your wine and maybe have soup in the dining room. Then they would take your order. You didn't hop in and out in forty-five minutes.


Photo Gallery

Related Links

Camelot-Life to the Max

Notes

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