Harley Hudson came to Coeur d’Alene from Brooklyn in 1905. The other Brooklyn. The one in Iowa. He sawed timber for a living for a couple of years, then thought the area could benefit from a good, basic burger. He built a rickety little stand out of canvas and boards and began selling hamburgers for a dime on the west end of the Idaho Hotel. He sold a lot of them. In 1910 he moved into a space next to the east end of the hotel that allowed him to have a counter and stools for a dozen customers.
When 1917 rolled around—the ten-year anniversary of Hudson’s Hamburgers—Harley had saved up enough money to buy a two-story brick building on the south side of Sherman Avenue, between Second and Third streets. He promptly named it the Hudson Building. The family operated the business from there until 1962 when they leased the spot to J.C. Penney and moved across the street to their present location, 207 E. Sherman Avenue.
Descendants of Harley Hudson still run the joint today. The menu is about the same as it was in 1907: plenty of burgers, no fries. They’ve been doing the burger thing so long and so well that there just isn’t much point in changing their business formulae. They’ve been named one of the top hamburger spots in the West by Sunset Magazine. The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Gourmet Magazine have all featured Hudson’s.
If you’re a history buff—and you probably are, if you’re reading this—stop in and take a look at the framed photos on the walls of big steamers and smaller boats that once plied the nearby waters. Maybe order a hamburger while you’re there.