Skip to Main Content

Mankato, Minnesota: Last Happy Chef

Last survivor of an iconic franchise roadside eatery, this is the only remaining Happy Chef restaurant with a talking, spoon-hoisting Happy Chef statue. 36 feet tall, counting the spoon.

Happy Chef Restaurant

51646 US-169, Mankato, MN
Happy Chef Restaurant. Just north of the interchange of US Hwy 14 and US Hwy 169, on the west side of US Hwy 169.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Last Happy Chef

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Last Happy Chef

After 20 years of silence, the last Happy Chef has his voice back! You no longer have to press a button to hear him talk; motion sensors trigger his voice as people walk by. Kind of cool to know that they fixed him up!

[Terry Wermerskirchen, 01/07/2019]

Sample Happy Chef joke: "I'm old enough to remember when emojis were called hieroglyphics!"

Happy Chef.

Last Happy Chef

A part of restaurant history, the Happy Chef restaurant in Mankato, Minnesota is the last of its kind. For those in larger vehicles wishing to check this place out, right next door is a BP truck stop with plenty of parking.

[Rick Sare, 06/19/2018]

Happy Chef.

Big Happy Chef

A big, happy, bow-legged chef waves a big spoon at motorists on Hwy 169 north of Mankato.

[Lapchik the Motorcyclist, 02/25/2016]

Happy Chef.

Last Happy Chef

The Happy Chef statue is right on the main road at a cute old restaurant that would be a good breakfast, lunch or dinner stop!

[Meredith, 07/29/2015]

"Oh boys and girls," says Happy Chef when you push his button, "I'm so happy you came to see me. Did you realize I was born and raised in Mankato?"

Happy Chef.

Last Happy Chef

The odd thing about the Happy Chef is that he is actually kind of sad. You press a button and he speaks (or, rather, a recording plays) and talks about how lonely and cold he is standing outside in the wind. Jeez, Happy Chef, you're bringing me down, man.

[Jenny Allan, 12/20/2013]

With only one talking Happy Chef survivor, you'd think the chain would be more attentive to what he has to say. Maybe the recording was made by the store manager during a snowbound lull in business.

Nearby Offbeat Places

10-Foot-Tall Steel Godzilla10-Foot-Tall Steel Godzilla, North Mankato, MN - 2 mi.
Drive A TankDrive A Tank, Kasota, MN - 7 mi.
Lillo's Metal Art: Eiffel Tower, Firing Rifle, Jesse JamesLillo's Metal Art: Eiffel Tower, Firing Rifle, Jesse James, Good Thunder, MN - 10 mi.
In the region:
Green Giant Sign, Le Sueur, MN - 20 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Minnesota Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bonanzaville USA, West Fargo, North Dakota (Jun 5-11, 2023)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings