Lefse Shack opens in Iola
By Holly Neumann
Harold and Sherri Floistad have long dreamed of owning a lefse shop.
They wanted a place to make wraps and offer Norwegian meatballs and such Norwegian pastries as rosettes, sandbakkels and krumkake.
“We never followed our dream because this is only a seasonal tradition,” said Sherri. “So we just added a Lefse kitchen on to our house and make it there from September through February.”
It all started 25 years ago for the couple.
“Everett and Viola Aasen asked us to help them make lefse for the Winter Carnival’s Norwegian supper,” said Sherri. “We were not very good Lefse makers until they got a hold of us. We had a lot of learning to do. We spent a lot of time at Everett and Viola’s house learning all the secrets to make the perfect lefse. They taught us well.”
Lefse is a Norwegian flat bread made with potatoes, flour, salt and oil rolled to the very thinnest.
“You boil your potatoes, let cool, then you rice them,” Sherri said. “You add your flour, salt and oil and mix well. Then you take a handful of dough and roll it very thin. The thinner the better.”
The dough is then rolled on a stick and placed on a griddle and baked until brown spots appear. After it cools, it is wrapped.
The process is long, but worth it.
“People enjoy eating it in many different ways,” Sherri said. “The most common is just spreading butter and sprinkling a little sugar on it and rolling it up to eat it.”
Both Harold and Sherri have Norwegian backgrounds.
“My husband’s father and my father are both 100 percent Norwegian, and we grew up eating lefse for Christmas with, of course, the lutefisk on my side and the oyster stew on his side,” Floistad said. “But we both loved the lefse and Norwegian meatballs.”
Their dream of owning a store has now become somewhat of a reality.
With help from Sherri’s father, Roger Olson, and his friend, Jim Jensen, they built a mobile structure they call the Lefse Shack. The couple may now sell their lefse anywhere they want to go.
“This year is a new beginning for us,” said Sherri. “The Lefse Shack is close to having my lefse shop dream. It has been a great hit in this small Norwegian community. I would like to thank everyone for their support.”
The couple laughs when they think about their old road side stand.
“We had a couple of coolers and tables set up,” said Harold. “With a sign that said lefse.”
“Looking at our stand now and thinking about the old one, people must have laughed at us,” Sherri said.
For now, they only sell their lefse in the Iola area.
“One day, I’d like to have an even bigger stand,” said Sherri. “One with a big window where people can stop by and watch as we make it.”
The Lefse Shack may be found September through February on weekends by Vidar (the Viking Statue) located along State Street in Iola.
They will also sell their product during the Iola Winter Carnival.
“There are a lot of lefse lovers in the community,” Sherri said. “If anybody is interested, they can contact me for some lefse at any time.”
The Lefse Shack may be reached by calling 715-445-4661 or by following them Facebook.