Couple gets first-date memory from restaurant being demolished

A Lincoln couple got a special memory from the restaurant where they had their first date before it was demolished.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 7:37 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - “We at least went probably once a month and we would always try to sit in the same booth next to these glass box windows.”

Anne Tapley Gasper and Russ Gasper walked into a blind date at Grandmother’s Restaurant in April of 1990. They had both signed up for a dating service called ‘Blue Moon Dating,’ where a matchmaker in town would meet with individuals and pinpoint who he thought should be set up.

“There was no meeting people online, there was no Facebook, none of that existed,” Anne said.

The Gaspers almost didn’t meet.

“His date actually canceled, and Roger called me up. I was the pinch hitter, last minute to go on a date with him. And we met at Grandmother’s, you always met in a public place,” Anne said.

As luck would have it, the two hit it off instantly and didn’t want to end the night.

“We spent hours talking, we went through dinner, hor d’oeuvres, we just spent hours talking,” Anne said. “And we went to a late movie afterwards.”

Flash forward six months and the couple was married. They made going to the restaurant a part of their routine.

“We would go back and tell the staff, ‘This is where we had our first date,” Russ said.

Grandmother’s closed its doors in 2016 and several establishments called the building home throughout the years. When the Gaspers got word that the restaurant space was being demolished earlier this month, Russ knew snagging some of the glass blocks at their spot could be the perfect Christmas present for his wife.

“I told her I had contacted the construction company but I didn’t give too much detail because I didn’t know if it was going to work,” Russ said.

Finally, on December 22nd, Russ got the call. He could have two blocks from the restaurant. He packaged them up for Anne’s Christmas present.

“I was shocked,” Anne said. “Last I knew he said he didn’t think he could get them so I just assumed they were long gone.”

The Gaspers now display their keepsakes from Grandmother’s proudly in front of their fireplace.