It must be difficult to imagine for ordinary people how a restaurant can be successful and gain loyal patronage when you are located in the middle of nowhere. Rooster Hill Farm is a testament that when you serve great food that appeals to a lot of people, right pricing, genuine ambiance people will find you. Rooster Hill’s packaging as a country restaurant is true to its claim.
After the disappointment from last time when Rooster Hill Farm was closed in July, my cousins made sure that this time the restaurant was open and we had a reservation.
When asked why they close during the holidays, they said things slow down during that time. In fact they said this week has been very slow for them as people are preparing to go somewhere. Good thing I came to Waterloo a couple days ahead of the holiday weekend so they were still open.
They have a very limited menu typewritten in a bond paper which changes daily, there are about 5 choices of entrees, same number for desserts. Each order comes with a salad. The servings are good size, it was more than sufficient. And most of all, first rate. You know that it is well planned and lovingly made. Every ingredient is fresh and they said they only make enough for a day. They close when they ran out of meals prepared.
Me and my cousin ordered the same rice casserole and split the bourbon pecan pie – they were superb. The casserole came piping hot, creamy and just the right seasoning. The warm dessert topped with home-made whipped cream creating the right balance, which was meant for one could be shared by five people as it was that rich and decadent.
The farm-cum-restaurant is run by a mother-daughter team. We were the first to arrive and were greeted at the door by the daughter, Melissa. She wears many hats. She’s the hostess, waitstaff, cashier.
Chef and decorator, I met Jeanette, Melissa’s mom in the small kitchen. She cooks her favorite recipes they serve in the cafe. Mom and daughter are both very warm, greeting you with a hug, stopping by diners’ table to chat several times as time allows.Jeanette and husband bought the farm of 25 acres with a house and barn as a retirement place. The cafe started as a hobby and then it became very successful that now it demands so much more of their time and energy. The place is actually now in the market.
The restaurant is housed in an old barn. The second floor serves as a gift shop. A nice place to shop for some pieces of Americana. Spread all over the place are country decors which would look very chic in a country home.
I wish Jeanette the best in retirement but that part of the Midwest will be missing her cooking when she finally walks away from Rooster Hill. When I suggested to Melissa why she couldn’t just take over, she said that won’t totally retire her mother, like a mother hen she would still be hovering in the place and that’s not retirement for her parents. But she ended with a tentative answer of maybe. I believe if there’s no right offer they might just do that – continue a great food tradition.