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Locals and tourists alike come together to share a good home cooked meal in one of Holmes Counties most popular restaurants. You will always find an atmosphere that is most welcoming and you will more than likely find the English and the Amish dining side-by-side.
Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen opened its doors for business in 1994. "Mrs. Yoder, at least that's what I call her and what everyone seems to know her as, always had a dream of having a restaurant," said Robert Burkholder, part owner and manager.
Gloria Yoder, or Mrs. Yoder, was born and raised in Mt. Hope, but interestingly enough, she is not and never was Amish. She grew up surrounded by the Amish culture and went to a school where she might have been considered the minority, being one of a few "English" children in a predominately Amish school.
She married a local boy who used to be Amish and expressed her idea of purchasing a house in Mt. Hope to serve as the town restaurant. Her husband, Eli, expressed his reservations at first as he shared the same feelings many others had; that Mt. Hope would not be able to support the business.
Here we are, not quite 20 years later, and Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen has become one of the most outstanding restaurants in the area with a far and wide reputation. Regulars come from as close as Mt. Hope and neighboring towns of Wooster and Berlin to as far as Massillon, Akron and even Cleveland just to get that "down home" cooked meal once a week.
"For being here for only 20 years we have a great reputation and it takes a lot of work to maintain that reputation," said Burkholder.
Keeping a reputation of great home cooked meals is not hard when 95 percent of the food served is made from scratch. "When it is available, we buy most of our produce from the local auction," said Burkholder. "It's important for us to support the local community."
Some of Mrs. Yoder's most popular dishes include the Broasted Chicken and Pot Roast Beef. Seasonal favorites include seafood buffets, Mexican, Irish and German Buffets which vary between the months of January and April. In the summertime, the restaurant sticks to its regular fare of buffets and the super salad bar.
Banquets and Christmas parties are always a favorite at the restaurant. Groups have the option of a traditional menu or one of the specialty menus.
Every Tuesday night is senior night, although this is not specifically limited to seniors. Anyone can take advantage of the discount and enjoy a small portion for a cheaper price. Wednesday evening is "all you can eat" buffet and a steak dinner is featured every Saturday evening.
My co-worker and I set out for a late afternoon lunch/dinner at Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen. It was obvious to see just how busy the small restaurant stays as it was going on 3 in the afternoon and there was still a line of anxious diners excited to dig into a hot meal.
We didn't have to wait too long for a table and our waitress was right along to take our order. My co-worker decided on the Broasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans as her side while I opted for the Wedding Steak with a side salad and homemade dressing (stuffing.)
It didn't take long at all until we had full plates of food served under our noses which tasted just as good as it looked and smelled. The Wedding steak was very moist and delicious and the stuffing was some of the best I had ever had. My co-worker enjoyed her chicken which she described as "melt in your mouth good." The mashed potatoes and gravy were creamy and the beans were baked to perfection yet still slightly crisp. It was like having a pre-Thanksgiving meal.
Patting our now exceedingly full tummies, we each took a pie for the road. I chose the traditional pumpkin pie while my co-worker chose another favorite, the peanut butter cream pie.
We were not left waiting at any time, as our waitress was always pleasantly stopping by to make sure we had plenty to drink and taking away empty dishes with a smile. The whole experience left you feeling like you had become a part of Mrs. Yoder's family.
"We are very appreciative of our customers, both local and from afar," said Burkholder. "We have a good mixture of locals and tourists throughout the day."
"I enjoy the people and I also enjoy cooking which I do a lot of," said Burkholder.
Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen is focused on quality and always looking to find new items their customers will enjoy. Next year will mark 20 years of business for the restaurant, and the Yoder family couldn't be happier with the success of their little restaurant.
Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen is located at 8101 SR 214 in Mt. Hope. Restaurant hours are Mon-Sat, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days but is open on New Years Eve and New Years Day (see website for special hours) serving up Sauerkraut and sausage on the buffet.
Check out www.mrsyoderskitchen.com for monthly specials and menu items. A newsletter can be downloaded from March through June and features articles of the restaurant and a recipe contest. If Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen chooses to feature your recipe, you will receive an opportunity to come and eat for free. For more information call 330-674-0922.