History of Bill Knapp’s

Bill Knapp’s was an American family restaurant chain. Founded by Clinton B. Knapp in 1948, the chain operated in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Indiana with more than 60 locations at its peak.


Many of the restaurants were located right off major highway exits so they became convenient meeting places for friends and families throughout the Midwest. In fact, one of the fondest memories for many of our customers involved our birthday and anniversary promotions. Any customer visiting a Bill Knapp’s restaurant on his or her birthday received a discount on his or her meal equal to his or her age bringing a real smile to the faces of many 80, 90 and even some 100 year old customers and their families on these occasions. The whole family was also treated with a free white or chocolate cake to celebrate the occasion as well. Many Bill Knapp’s customers also remember the takeout bakery section located by the checkout counter where they could take home many of their favorite desserts from the menu to enjoy at home.

Bill Knapp's Birthday Cake

Family Tradition

In fact, many Midwest retail shoppers remember family traditions that involved celebrations in our restaurants. Whether it was a birthday or anniversary celebration or just family get-togethers along Midwestern highways. Bill Knapp’s products bring back warm memories (and a smile) for many of them. How many other products out there today can make that claim?

Bill Knapp's History - Waitress


One of the things that our customers grew to expect from our restaurants was quality food. They could count on the fact that the Bill Knapp’s name stood for good, traditional, quality food. Retail shoppers today have those same expectations. If it has our name on it, they expect it to be good!

Bill Knapp's Bakery