Café Kvil – for a rest or a lunch break

(Norwegian version) In 1935 a young couple from the neighbouring district built their home in the Mostugugata street east of the railway line. And their intention was to start a café – Kafé Kvil.

Text: Per Erling Bakke

Adapted and translated into English by Ivar Teigum

The name Kvil , in English meaning the same as rest, home atmosphere, lunch break, traditional homemade farmer’s food, a bed to sleep in, even rooms to let to tenants. All the rooms had central heating, in fact Kafé Kvil was one of the first houses at Otta to have this amenity installed.

The establishment was opened in 1937.

Kafé Kvil before it was finally closed – 1n 1972.

Dinner was served in the host’s diningroom, always homemade with local ingredients. The wife Lina did the cooking while the husband Ola served the guests. The Otta Market every year on the first Tuesday in October was a busy time for everybody, with people turning up from near and far. Then dinners at Kafé Kvil were served not only in the diningroom, but in the private sittingroom as well.

The personnel at Kafé Kvil with Margot Engebretsen the young hostess at the centre, surrounded by Solveig Høiberg (left) and Astrid Haugaløkken.

Restrictions on alcohol consumption were strict, and usually kept. Kafé Kvil like most cafes served beer in connection with meals, otherwise not. Ola the host was loyal towards the regulations. Nobody could come to his guesthouse just for a bottle of beer.

All the year round the establishment had two servants employed, and an extra hand in summer as Ola the host was occupied elsewhere. When Ola died in 1960, their daughter Margot returned home and took over the business. The house was restored, and a couple of guestrooms were added.

Kafé Kvil had a great many regular guests. Among them were those who came for their lunch break, a mixture of people: drivers in the transport and bus company, employees in the slaughterhouse, elctricians in the hydroelectric company, railway personnel, and also young students at the local commercial school.

Kafé Kvil was closed in 1972 after a period of 35 years.