In 1945, Louise Schwartz opened The Echo, a little sandwich shop near the corner of Edwards and Erie Avenues in Hyde Park, a bustling, blue-collar neighborhood.
In 1975, Louise expanded to include what we call “the back room,” which originally was a laundry (in case you’ve always wondered why our restrooms are so small). Business thrived over the following years, with generations of customers enjoying the neighborhood meeting place, hosted by sassy waitresses who would not hesitate to tell you to “shut up and eat your vegetables”. Yes, we say waitresses, no political correctness applies, and no males were ever serving customers. The staff and customers were like family, and if you didn’t show up for a few days, particularly if you were older and lived alone, the staff would try to hunt you down to check on you.
In 1978, a tragedy closed The Echo temporarily, as a kitchen fire ravaged the restaurant with flames and smoke damage. The Echo reopened and thrived once again. Louise sold the restaurant in 1989 after long, dedicated service. Two owners followed, each for about three years.
In 1995, The Echo was purchased by Stephanie Surgeon, and although the spirit of what Louise had built remains the same, we have made some changes. We certainly kept the things that have kept loyal customers coming back day after day, week after week, year after year—like our homemade pies (we still use Louise’s original recipes) and a commitment to hearty, home cooked food at a fair price. But we have made a few updates, like opening seven—days—a—week . In fact, The Echo had never been open on Sundays, but we realize that’s one of folks’ favorite days to grab a hearty breakfast or brunch. In fact, Sunday has become one of our busiest days.
The Echo developed an increasing following over the years, offering home cooking at reasonable prices. The enthusiasm for our breakfast and brunch items has become all the rage, as our regulars are ever changing from our most loyal elderly supporters to local college students in search of a cured hangover. We also have a steady dose of school kids, who used to come in with their parents, and now have evolved to hanging on their own with friends and an Echo milkshake. Lunch customers include a wide range from judges and city council members to local business employees and hard-working moms breaking cabin fever.
We pride ourselves in trying to evolve with the times. In 2005, we added a liquor license, which has encouraged third shifters to come in for a mimosa or bloody mary before bed! We are now offering seasonal menus that follow food trends. Some of our customers’ favorites range from pumpkin pie pancakes to our homemade spring chicken salad.
Who We Are
Stephanie Surgeon is a Cincinnati girl from Anderson. She went to Saint Ursula Villa and Saint Ursula Academy, and received a degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati. What better to do with a psychology degree but to own a restaurant!! In 1998, while setting up a promotion with Warm 98 for the last show of Seinfeld, Stephanie met and fell in love with the chief engineer of the station, Kevin Surgeon. They reside in Anderson with their two boys, Lucas and Jakob. The boys have been known to work a shift or two in the dish room during break or on a snow day. Stephanie’s mom, Joan Bahr, has always had a behind—the—scenes role at the restaurant. Any of the soup recipes that aren’t from Louise are Joan’s, not to mention the fact that she has done the bookkeeping and been Stephanie’s main financial advisor.
Recognize someone? Chances are we’ll recognize you, too. Our staff likes to stick around — you’ll see the same friendly faces time and time again. Our team has shared many memorable events with our guests, and we’ve seen them through weddings, hardships and their everyday experiences. We’ve made some good friends in the process!
Browse F.A.Q. Topics
Where did the name of “The Echo” originate?
No one seems to know! Some people have noted that once newcomers join us for a meal, they seem to “echo” back in again and again.
When did The Echo open?
The debate rages on, but the closest date to pinpoint is about 1943, at the end of the war.
Where do I park?
Parking can be tricky. There is a city lot just behind The Echo, and it can be accessed via Edwards Road. There is also street and meter parking.
Reservations, Carryout, Etc.
Can I buy a gift certificate?
Yes! They’re available in $10 denominations.
Can I order carryout?
Absolutely! Everything on our menu can be ordered for carryout.
Do you take reservations?
We do not take reservations. There are periods when the rush makes it difficult to guarantee seating. However, at most other times you can call ahead to let us know the size of your party and expected arrival time, and we‘ll do our best to have something ready for you.
Are your pies homemade?
Yes! You can also order full pies — just let us know at least 24 hours in advance. This is a popular option around Thanksgiving and Christmas!
I’m a vegetarian. Do you have any options for me or your vegan customers? What about those with food allergies?
We have a varied number of food items and since nearly everything is prepared from scratch, we can accommodate most dietary needs. Just ask!