ARCOLA (JG-TC) -- The closing this week of a downtown Arcola restaurant has residents reminiscing about the stories and meals shared with friends over 47 years.

Ruth Ann and Allen Yoder announced recently that they are closing their Dutch Kitchen restaurant on Sunday after nearly five decades.

The Yoders decided to retire, and without a buyer for the business on the city's Main Street, decided to close.

“It’s a lot of effort,” Allen Yoder said. “We’ve been doing it a long time, and it’s time to stop.”

The Dutch Kitchen is one in a line of family businesses in the Arcola area, dating back to the Yoder family’s operation of the former Rockome Gardens tourism attraction near Arthur.

In the 1970s Allen and Ruth Ann brought the Amish-style meals from Rockome Gardens to the former “Downtowner” restaurant in Arcola.

The restaurant has attracted locals and visitors, some who plan trips to Amish country to include at the Dutch Kitchen.

“Starting at the end of March, it gets really busy as people come back from Florida,” Ruth Ann Yoder said.

Local publisher Don Rankin praised the Yoders for their involvement in community projects and Chamber of Commerce events.

The restaurant and its equipment remain for sale. Rankin and others hope a buyer can be found.

Allen Yoder said he would like someone else to have the same positive experiences he and Ruth Ann have had.

“Restaurants are a lot of work, and it takes time but the connection you make with your customers makes it worthwhile,” he said. “We have people who’ve come here their whole lives. We’ll miss them.”

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