Faces of Northeast:  Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith is the owner of Harold’s, a burger restaurant that has been in the same location in Historic Northeast since 1958. Smith has owned and operated the restaurant since 1999.

Smith was born in the Northeast at the old osteopathic hospital and grew up in the area.

While working at a warehouse at 12th and Chestnut in 1982, Smith said she would often eat Harold’s sandwiches in the break room at work.

“How I ended up eating their food on break to owning the place, I don’t know,” she laughed.

She worked alongside Harold in the restaurant from 1986 until 1989 and he asked if she’d consider buying the restaurant.

She said she just wasn’t ready. But in 1999, she took him up on the offer.

Now, the restaurant is staffed with family: her older sisters, her partner Deb, and Sam Gallo, the former owner of Teresa’s Drive-In, who Smith said she considers family, all work side-by-side to produce the well-known burgers.

“We serve four generations of people here,” she said. “We get all kinds of people that come in, not just neighborhood people. We get people from City Market, families, and people from City Hall. We get all kinds of people.”

Smith said the location is perfect and offers easy accessibility to people coming from up north, downtown, or Northeast.

She said she always encourages people to venture off the Avenue and try out the restaurant.

“I love the Northeast,” she said. “I was born and raised in the Northeast, from 9th and Benton to 11th and Indiana. The people around here, we have pretty much grown up together. I’ve seen three generations and now we’re getting four generations in. We get along with everybody. It’s like a family.”

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