Country chicken

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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.

with my cousins Thelma & James

with my cousins Thelma & James

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.

Melissa mans the front desk and the tables

Melissa mans the front desk and the tables

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.

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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.

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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.

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11 Responses to Country chicken

  1. viveka says:

    Wow, what a place and I’m glad you went back and got a fantastic experience .. I’m bad in that respect .. very seldom I give restaurants a second chance. Your photos are just fantastic and .. it’s like taking me there for real – photos of everything. A happy post. Excellent job. My favorites is the one with the sun roses and the mirro image.

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  2. Delicious photos!

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  3. Vivien says:

    a beautiful, charming country place. the restaurant looks and feels homey, with the delish entrée, desert, good comfort. A perfect place to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. I love places like this where things are unhurried and so relaxing. Great post, Lou. Would love to visit the place, one day.

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  4. Vivien says:

    oops, good comfort food.

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  5. bebs1 says:

    Viveka, the first time I could say it was our fault. We didn’t make a reservation although they prefer that you do 24 hours before; if we did that, then we would have found out that they were closed. My cousins really liked the place and James is quite hard to please as he is also a culinary school graduate aside from being an ordained minister and if he likes it then it is a good gauge if a place is worth a second chance. I enjoyed this place very much compared to Gallagher where we had their fried chicken last time, that I am not going to try again.

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  6. bebs1 says:

    Thanks Dinna! Happy Labor Day!

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  7. bebs1 says:

    Vivien, you’ll like the ambiance here, the country charm and their dishes are truly Midwestern comfort foods.

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  8. Great ambiance, friendliness and mouth-watering food. What more could you ask for? Shame when places like that close, but it must be very hard work running that sort of place.

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  9. bebs1 says:

    I know. Restaurants come and go for good reasons. But it is really difficult for Jeanette to run the place, I read she’s already had two knee surgeries even before the restaurant opened so you can just imagine. It is good that they chose to close on holidays.

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  10. lolaWi says:

    yummy food and the place has the old charm. they sell quite nice stuff too.

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  11. bebs1 says:

    The food, esp. their desserts were phenomenal. And yes, you’d want to keep some of the stuff.

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