In 1958, Delores “Lady” Textor began popping homemade caramel corn that was cherished by her family. More than 50 years later, her family is sharing that recipe with the public for the first time at Lady’s Gourmet Popcorn in Griffith.
Textor’s daughters, Cathi Knestrict and Patti Haugh, along with Haugh’s daughter Amanda Sanow, began selling the popcorn at the Griffith Central Market in May 2013, and realized immediately the demand was growing.
“We quickly found it difficult to produce the volume we needed for the market, and after 24 years of food service experience, I was ready to take this to the next level and open my own shop,” Haugh, of Griffith, said.
The trio moved to the modest, 400-square-foot storefront in December, and offer traditional caramel corn and cheddar cheese corn in addition to a Chicago mix and a cinnamon roll flavor.
“We rotate flavors such as bacon cheddar, BBQ cheddar, pepper pop cheddar, white cheddar, jalapeno white cheddar, chocolate drizzle and hot wing as well,” Haugh said.
The shop is prized for popcorn with large kernels and natural ingredients, including butter, brown sugar, molasses and real vanilla.
“You can taste the light, buttery crunchiness of the caramel corn, and our popcorn is made fresh every day. We have found that people are very passionate about their popcorn,” she said. “The volume was much higher than expected, especially during the holiday season. Business is still going very strong.”
Haugh retired from a retail manager position with Aramark to run the shop, and holds a degree in restaurant hotel management from Purdue University Calumet.
Her daughter, Amanda, studied graphic design and communications arts at Columbia College in Chicago.
Though Textor died in March 2000, the family holds close to its motto: “a longtime family tradition."
“Running a family owned business is not as easy as it might look, but the customers are the best. The smiles, the stories our customers tell us, and the small town, close knit community spirit,” Haugh said.
“Everyone has a story to tell – where they live, who they know, what class they graduated in. ... It’s so cool.”
“We’ll continue to provide fresh gourmet popcorn right in their own backyard,” she said.