Serving Up Homestyle Favorites In the local Farming Community
Photographer / Belinda Russell
Tractors, augers and satisfying eats await at Reynolds Farm Equipment in Atlanta, IN. Inside the dealership is a gem of an eatery, Combine Café. Here, chef Jon Hollingsworth whips up burgers, tenderloins and whatever he and his wife Michelle decide will be on the menu.
Jon and Michelle serve around 100 plates per day out of the 700-square-foot kitchen. He says he never knows what to expect each day. And he likes it that way.
Combine Café started when owner Gary Reynolds planned the dealership. He wanted a place for employees to eat and since there were few restaurants around, he had to make his own. Now, Combine Café is still growing five years after opening.
Jon enjoys working alongside his wife. He says her friendly attitude makes customers smile, and her meatloaf is the best special. They frequently drive to work together. Once there, they start the coffee and get ready for the morning crowd.
“Farmers like to come in, get some coffee, sit down, gab about the day, head out and start working again,” Jon says.
He sees farmers come in multiple times a week, sometimes they come twice a day. The regulars are part of what makes his job rewarding.
Local farmers are important to Combine Café’s menu as well. Jon tries to source what he can from local farmers. He gets lots of corn locally and looks out for bulk quantities of fresh tomatoes. He has even gotten lamb from a nearby farmer.
Every quarter, Jon and Michelle decide how to refresh the menu. They want regulars to stay satisfied with variety while also staying true to crowd-pleasers. There’s always plenty of homestyle options each season.
“Meat and potatoes are really what the farm boys want,” Jon says. “We try to make things hearty, so no one goes home hungry.”
Menu items include biscuits and gravy, a breakfast burrito, barbecue pulled pork and chicken strips. Sometimes, Jon likes to throw in specials based on his favorites, like Lo Mein.
This summer, Reynolds Farm Equipment started advertising the café on a billboard alongside U.S. Highway 31. It brings travelers stopping for a quick bite during their road trip. They’re usually surprised to be eating alongside an array of John Deere equipment, and the reviews on Yelp show they leave amused at this quirk.
Jon likes when customers hear about the café first and then see the showroom. Sometimes they come back to look at the equipment too. He loves working inside a Reynolds.
“My favorite part is working for Reynolds company. They just treat us great,” Jon adds. “They try to take care of us as best as possible.”
Jon has worked at a variety of places before Combine Café. He’s cooked at a pub and at a country club. It prepared him for the wide array he serves up daily as well as readied him for the fast-paced work environment.
“It can be very challenging because there’s a lot of stuff to do and not much time. It can get a little hectic,” he says.
The café has even catered events. They’ve catered the chamber of commerce’s “Taste of the Holidays” event. A few times a year, Reynolds holds farmers’ clinics, where farmers come learn about new agricultural technology and Jon gets even more connected to the area’s cultivators. They’ve even catered a few weddings.
The café may have started focused on Reynolds employees, but it has since grown to serve a community.
Combine Cafe at Reynolds Farm Equipment is located at 1451 E 276th St in Atlanta. You can visit them online at reynoldsfarmequipment.com/combine-cafe for more information.