Ryan, Iowa: Happy Chef - Now an UmpireA former fast food chain mascot has been reworked into a baseball umpire for a local softball field.
Visitor Tips and News About Happy Chef - Now an Umpire
A couple of years ago while traveling home to Wisconsin from the West, we had lunch at a "Happy Chef" restaurant in Cedar Rapids. "Happy Chefs" used to feature huge outdoor fiberglass statues of the chef himself, but they're gone now. So I asked the waitress, "Where's the Happy Chef cemetery? . . . figuring they'd been moved and abandoned somewhere. She said she didn't know where most of them were but did know what happened to "ours."
She said, "He's an umpire now!" and went on to explain that the little town of Ryan, Iowa, purchased the chef and morphed him into an umpire to stand in the outfield of the municipal ballpark.
We traveled a little east, then north on state highway 13 to Ryan where, indeed, we found the fellow. The former Happy Chef has doffed his chef's toque in favor of a bill-backwards cap and a "wire" facemask. And, his white suit has been repainted to a gray suit and chest protector. He's dropped the wooden spoon he used to hoist in his right hand and now holds up his index finger to signal "You're OUT." What a great second career.[E. Pearson, 05/22/2000]
Nathan Forrider sent us a photo in August 2002.