The history of the building precedes 1931. Around the turn of the century the wood frame structure was bricked over and is known as the Wildfang/Staebler Block. It housed a piano dealership, farm machinery sales office, and upstairs, the post office and the Tavistock Gazette newspaper office and a photo gallery. In later years the main floor was a car showroom operated by Andrew Baechler.
The Quehl’s lineage begins in 1931 with the opening of “Joe’s Place” under the founder Old Joe Steinman. It began as a lunch counter, tobacco shop and barber shop. In 1946, Joe’s son Clarence “Hap” Steinman, joined his father. They incorporated the bowling lanes that were located at the rear of the restaurant, where the Quehl’s banquet facilities are now located.
In 1959, a partnership between Hap and Les Rogers was formed and the name was changed to “Les & Haps” Les retired in 1972 and in 1974, Hap sold the business to his nephew Joe Steinman and the name returned to “Joe’s Place” and remained until 1981. At this time, Bill Quehl had acquired what was then the 40-year-old catering business of his grand-mother, Ruby Quehl. Bill closed down the bowling alley, and used the solid oak lanes to form many of the tables used today at Quehl’s. He renovated the original dining area of the restaurant, to what you see today.
In 1987, Ruth and Steve Cahill purchased the restaurant and neighbouring buildings – formerly Weickers’s butcher shop and the Weicker house. They maintained the Quehl’s name and Steve made extensive renovations to the neighbouring buildings by joining them together. This was done by enclosing the alleyway that ran between the restaurant and the Weickers’s butcher shop, thus making one large building with a total seating capacity of approximately 250.
All owners have maintained the small, home town quality of Quehl’s. Each of the several dining areas of the restaurant are named according to previous owners. The “Old Joe’s Room” the “Ruby Quehl Room” the “Weicker Room” and the “Les & Hap’s Room” each are unique and offer the flavour of a bygone era. The alley way that is now the main entrance to Quehl’s, once led to the rear barns of Weickers’s butcher shop. At the turn of the century, the horse drawn wagons would round the corner to the barn and the hub of the wheels would scrape the bricks, leaving grooves that are still visible to this day.
As well as a restaurant, Quehl’s has become somewhat of a museum, with artifacts from the Tavistock area, dating back more than a century.