Local Eatery Offers Fresh Food and Friendly Service
There’s nothing quite like a small-town café. Anyone who walks through the door is met with a smile and a friendly greeting, before being shown to a table and given a menu. These small businesses offer an excellent snapshot of rural culture. Farmers, small-business owners and families all come in to enjoy good cooking and friendly service. A café can also serve as a central gathering place for a local community.
Jefferson Kafe, a hidden gem in Millersburg, is all that and more – especially since the three Troyer sisters, Lissa, Sharon and Kate, gave the space a new lease on life.
“It was a restaurant before we bought it,” Sharon says. “It closed down for a few years before we found it and started it back up.”
The building has been a centerpiece for the Millersburg community since the early 1900s. Back then it was a hardware store, and the place to hear the latest gossip.
“Our goal is to keep it a place for the community to gather and have good times at,” Kate says. “I definitely enjoy it when folks reminisce about when this building was a hardware store, and the dime store was next door.”
Eventually, the hardware store became a restaurant before it was sold to the Troyer family and transformed into Jefferson Kafe.
“It started with the family, kind of as a joke for us,” Sharon says. “It was kind of like, ‘Hey guys, we should start a restaurant in this building.’ Then we checked it out and we were like, ‘Hey, it’s really cute! We like it!’”
The decision to open Jefferson Kafe stemmed from a long-time family love for cooking.
“We grew up cooking together and we loved it,” Sharon says. “We also love to serve people.”
That’s not the only thing the sisters love about running the restaurant. Sharon loves working behind the scenes.
“I like being able to do photography and that kind of thing for advertising, through social media,” she says. “And I really love cooking.”
Kate, on the other hand, is the family extrovert.
“I really enjoy being a part of a small town like this,” Kate says. “When you run a diner in a small town, you really become part of the town, and I really appreciate that. My favorite part about the restaurant is being able to serve the community, and I hope everyone leaves satisfied and wanting to return.”
The community has made a big difference in the Troyers’ lives, and the sisters love to give back. One of the ways they do this is by sourcing the restaurant’s food locally whenever possible.
“All the bread that comes out with the dinners is from the local bakery,” Sharon says, adding that a portion of the desserts offered at the eatery also comes from the bakery.
People don’t come in just for the coffee and the good company, however. Jefferson Kafe is well known for its traditional American fare, much of which has a distinct Troyer twist to it.
“We tried to make things that we like ourselves,” Sharon says.
The restaurant is especially known for its signature burger baskets, salads, pies, shakes and ice cream.
“We make our own pies,” Sharon says. “We almost always have peanut butter, and every week we have a different kind. When it’s strawberry season, we’ll do that. It just varies.”
The menu also includes a wide variety of breakfast items. One of the most popular choices from the morning menu is the Breakfast Haystack, which includes cheesy biscuits and gravy with eggs and hash browns.
The menu also features allergy-friendly items. Upon request, the kitchen staff can substitute gluten-free spelt bread, and the waitstaff is happy to help customers choose from allergen-free options. Sugar-free options are available as well.
Jefferson Kafe is located at 112 South Jefferson Street in Millersburg. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. View the menu at Jefferson-Kafe.business.site, and reach out to them by calling 574-642-0204 or emailing JeffersonKafe@gmail.com.