The building at 175 Fort Wayne Ave. was constructed in the mid 1800’s.
The first known business where Little Sheba’s is currently located was Lichtenfels Meat Market. In August 1890 Jacob H. Lichtenfels started smoking sausage and the business was born. Jacob passed away in 1927 and the business was taken over by his sons Walter Lichtenfels (died 1942) and Edward (died 1947). In 1947, Edward’s son Robert Lichtenfels took over the shop until it closed in 1982.
As it sits now, the 175 address is the first building in the row of shops on Fort Wayne Avenue. Originally, that was not the case. The first building (173 Fort Wayne Ave.) was
Kuchenbucks Confectionary Candy Store. This building was eventually torn down and Hilton’s Texaco gas station was constructed. The station stood until the early 1950’s when it was removed and converted to a simple parking lot. As of 2013, the corner lot has been fashioned to serve as outdoor seating for Little Sheba’s restaurant.
In 1984, Del and Duane Fetters re-opened the building after remodeling it to make a New York style Deli, which lasted for just a few years.
In 1990 John and Sharon Kurtz purchased the building and started the Little Sheba’s Sandwich Shop.
It started with only one room at the 175 address. In 1995, John and Sharon purchased the building connected next door at 177 Fort Wayne Ave. and expanded to 2 rooms. Sharon was the ringleader of the restaurant and started the tradition of the funny sandwich names, while John played maintenance man.
The name ‘Little Sheba’s’ was inspired from the
arguments Sharon and John would have. Every time they got into it, John would say, “Who do you think you are, the ‘Queen of Sheba?’“ thus the name of our proud restaurant was born. On the menu, Sharon named a sandwich after John which is “John Boy’s Stupid Idiot”. She must have had more power than him!
In December of 2002 Steve Terzini purchased Little Sheba’s Sandwich Shop and changed it to Little Sheba’s Restaurant, keeping the same menu and adding a few more items. In 2004 Steve purchased the next two buildings (179 and 181 Fort Wayne Ave.) and gave life to what is now “Zini’s Place” Better Than Being Home. In 2005, Zini’s Place opened making the restaurant now have a bar area for customers to enjoy.
In 2008 the fourth building (181 Fort Wayne Ave.) opened as a banquet room named after Steve’s mother, Rosina. In 2012, Zini’s Place expanded in to that area with a horseshoe bar closing Mama Rosina’s Banquet Room. Mama Rosina’s legacy still lives on in that room.
The latest renovation which began in June, 2013, sees Steve once again expanding to add an outside patio where the Kuchenbucks Candy Store once was at 173 Fort Wayne Ave.
In 2016, Centerville, Indiana became the site of the second Little Sheba’s Restaurant. Opening the new Little Sheba’s at 129 East Main Street to serve people in western Wayne County.