Churning out homemade food served up with a side of good humor and warm hospitality, the Jordan Feed Mill Restaurant closed its doors and remains for sale in downtown Jordan on Water Street.
The restaurant quietly closed Friday, March 20 with a simple handmade sign taped to the front door of the red building on Water Street that is currently listed for sale after a potential buyer backed out at the last minute.
Owners Carl and Karen Day decided the time was right to close because Carl was experiencing some health issues. They report another hopeful, potential buyer is also interested in the commercial property.
Carl Day purchased the Jordan Feed Mill restaurant in 2003 alongside his wife, who is a hometown Jordan girl. The couple ran the Mom and Pop diner and homestyle kitchen for nearly 12 years, serving up a full menu of homemade breakfast and lunch while filling takeout orders from locals who came to depend on quality food served the way grandma might cook: with an apron from her kitchen.
“I will truly miss the family atmosphere and being called by my name when walking in there,” said Jay Ehlers on Facebook. “Being called ‘Sweetie’ helped me start my day right – I hope the new owners will share the same atmosphere and I sure hope they (Carl and Karen) enjoy retirement,” Ehlers added.
Since 1974, the Jordan Feed Mill restaurant has become a staple restaurant in the downtown area. The diner has served as a venue of choice and a gathering place for local farmers, friends and families who meet to share in life and good conversation over warm homemade breakfast, soup and sandwiches, or a slice of fruit pie.
A few local gentlemen even waited eagerly each Thursday morning by 6 a.m. so a couple of copies of the Jordan Independent newspaper could be delivered hot off the press, so to speak.
Carrying more than 117 years of Jordan history, the Feed Mill building on Water Street was built back in 1898 as a water-powered grist mill, grinding corn and farmer feed.
Doug Krohn remembers the Hennen brothers who worked at the original Feed Mill. He also recollected how area farmers would pull up left and right to pick up feed.
Longtime Jordan resident Liz Thaves recalls how the restaurant has served as a gathering place where she liked to bring her grandchildren to eat and share in life. Each week Thaves met friends on Thursday mornings for coffee and on Saturday mornings for breakfast. This regular patron admits she will miss the restaurant’s hometown, homemade food, the owners and staff.
Besides enjoying the exceptional menu of entrees, Thaves looked forward to dining at this restaurant because of its ambiance that she describes as “lovely” because of the captivating Sand Creek that flows against stone banks on the building’s backside. Patrons who ate a quiet meal could also take in nature’s majestic, flowing creek moving in full force during the seasons from the large dining hall picture windows.
“The creek was always changing — it was so soothing,” Thaves said. “We are sorry to see it go,” she added. She wishes Carl and Karen the best of luck in their retirement.
The Jordan Feed Mill restaurant became known for its friendly, hometown charming ambiance and popular breakfast and lunch entrees. Kitchen specials were handwritten on index cards and many days flowers decorated tables. One popular luncheon dish was the commercial plate — the classic pot roast-style beef with rich brown gravy served atop mashed potatoes.
Locals kept the hometown restaurant busy over the years as staff took orders for lunches like homemade hearty soups, made-to-order sandwiches and slices of fruit and seasonal pie. Many locals reported how they returned for the food, but felt a quaint charm dining in the family style restaurant where the staff and owners always remembered their names and gladly shared smiles, hospitality and the news of the day.
Rae Larivee and her husband shared a honeymoon breakfast meal as newlyweds in January of 2014. “The lumberjack breakfast was fantastic – we got some ideas for our house from there, too, and we had been there a couple times since and everything I had has been great,” Larivee said.
During the Christmas season the owners took care to celebrate and decorate the dining hall. Many also recalled how it was fun to look over the couple’s retro cookie jar collection perched on shelves inside the Mom and Pop diner.
Mervin Brenke said it is always sad to see a sit down, homemade food prep kitchen leave a town, so he hopes the doors will not be closed for long.
“We need a good general restaurant,” Brenke said, adding how there is a great demand for this kind of homestyle menu restaurant in Jordan. “I knew it was always there when I wanted to frequent it,” Brenke added.
Jane Nash said her husband Earl remembers hauling feed in the building prior to it becoming a restaurant. Larry Warden shared on Facebook how he worked inside the building when it was an actual farmers’ feed mill.
“I remember a guy named Peters (a prior owner) who gave away paper envelopes with coins, like Indian head pennies,” Nash said, who still has one of those envelopes at home.
Wink Taylor Skelton shared on Facebook how he especially liked and will miss the homemade breakfast served up at the Feed Mill.
For two years the Jordan High School cross country team gathered at the Feed Mill restaurant for breakfast before school on Wednesdays, according to Philip Atneosen.
“It used to be my motivation to wake up on Wednesdays,” Atneosen said. “Everybody that went enjoyed their friendly relationship with Carl and Karen and we enjoyed making their Wednesday mornings – the environment and hospitality can’t be matched. The rest of the team would agree that when it comes to food, it is all about the French toast and the pancakes . . . nobody whips up chocolate milk like Karen,” Atneosen added.
“I hope someone picks it up quick and gets it back up and running – I’d love to dine there again,” Larivee added.