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Favorite Things: Kewpee’s owner Autumn Weston and her Kewpie doll

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People really don’t know how to take the baby. People don’t even know what to call our mascot. Some know what a Kewpie doll is, but most just call it the “creepy baby.” Even I’m guilty of that. I’ve got two tattoos of them so I don’t think they are that creepy. I think they are kinda cute.

The doll is my favorite thing because there are always so many people who come in wondering what this is. It is definitely a conversation piece.

The doll is spelled like “Kewpie” and Kewpee the burger place piggybacked on it as a mascot. We are one of the three last remaining Kewpee’s franchises. I really wish I knew why the founders did that.

The doll, which was created by Rose O’Neill, was so popular in the early 1900s, they must’ve went after it. I never got a full reasoning why they did it, but I think it is unique for a restaurant to have a mascot of a naked baby on it.

Growing up with it, it was one of those things people acknowledge. A lot of people see this and talk about good memories of Kewpie dolls back in the day.

It’s been on our original wrapper that’s been part of us since we started in 1923. I’m a fourth-generation owner and we always got Kewpie dolls for our birthdays. I always thought “Can’t I get a Cabbage Patch doll or Barbie or something? This baby doesn’t even have clothes to play with.”

Now people send us these from all over even if it is something that just has a Kewpie doll on it. A lot of our postcards we have hanging throughout the restaurant have Kewpies on them.

We once had a really cool lady that brought us a bride and groom Kewpie couple that is three feet tall. They picked them up at a flea market in Japan and brought them back for us. It was super cool.

My mom has a collection of over 150 of these dolls at home. We want to put them on display and have a locking glass case so people come to see them.

We like to think we’ll continue to make it ours.

(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)

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