Monowi, Nebraska is the only incorporated, government-run American town with a population of just one person—and that one person is 87-year-old Elsie Eiler, who pours ’em up cold at the Monowi Tavern restaurant and bar. I learned about Eiler in Kieran Dahl’s delightful Eater article published yesterday. Turns out, she’s been the sole resident of Monowi since her husband passed away in 2004, and she’s become what Eater calls “something of an international celebrity” as the town’s mayor, secretary, and—perhaps most importantly—the proprietress, cook, and bartender of Monowi Tavern.
Eater reports that the closure of the town’s railroad in 1978 turned Monowi into a ghost town as residents moved elsewhere to stay afloat. But Eiler stuck around; since purchasing the tavern in 1971, Eiler’s turned into a local legend and tourist attraction in her own right. She works at the bar Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to closing time, serving up the classics: hamburgers, hot dogs, and cheese balls, all for under $5. She also offers tins of Skoal and Copenhagen, cigarettes, and what she cheekily advertises as the “Coldest Beer In Town.”
After a year of isolation, Eiler’s solitary existence might seem harsh—but she tells Eater that she’s happy with the life she’s built in Monowi. “I’m doing what I want to do right now,” she says. “Maybe next year I won’t want to. But this year, this is what I want to be doing.” Check out the full article here, and pay Eiler a visit next time you’re in Nebraska.