— WINDFALL — Opening a small business is always a risk, but Bill Anderson believes that Maggie’s Diner in Windfall has turned the corner.
“I hoped it would work,” he said. “It was a struggle, but I believe it’s going to succeed. Overall the town has accepted us recently.”
In the remodeled building at the only intersection in town with a blinking stop light, regulars gather for breakfast, conversation and good-natured ribbing before heading out to work.
Anderson and his wife, Lynda, own the restaurant that opened last June. Anderson sold concessions at festivals and fairs around the state for 20 years before he decided to open a restaurant.
He said since the couple have no children, they decided to name the restaurant after their yellow Labrador.
Maggie’s is non-smoking to keep the family atmosphere, Anderson said.
Like any hometown business, there is a group of regulars who stop by every day.
Rick Smith is one of them. The local farmer comes in daily for breakfast and lunch.
“I’m partial to hamburger and fries,” he said. “It’s pretty nice, the atmosphere is nice.”
Smith also introduced a co-worker, Scott Kimbrough, to Maggie’s. Now Kimbrough stops in daily for breakfast and sometimes for lunch.
“I like the biscuits and gravy for breakfast,” he said. “The hand-cut fries are awfully good.”
This isn’t the first restaurant Anderson has owned, so he some experience making foods from scratch that draw in customers day after day.
“We make American fare, comfort food,” he said.
Anderson operated the Twin Kiss ice cream parlor and restaurant in Sheridan for four years, but was forced to close when the lease was not renewed.
“We were searching for something else,” Anderson said. “We searched every where. This was not my first pick. I didn’t want to start from scratch.”
The couple was looking for an existing business that was for sale before deciding to go into business in Windfall.
One of the draws for Anderson was the favorable business landscape in Windfall. Anderson said there are three competitors in the Tipton County community as compared to 12 in Sheridan.
He said Windfall has been a good fit.
“I love this town,” Anderson said of Windfall, adding that his mother managed a pizza place in town for many years.
Some of the restaurant’s staples include all-you-can-eat fish and crab legs, prime rib and, in the next month, will begin offering barbecue from a smoker. Anderson said most of the food items are made from scratch.
“I have always believed an ice cream place should work in every small town,” Anderson said. “This has evolved into a full-service restaurant.”
Renee Hill, who oversees the waitress staff and keeps the books, said customers come from Greentown, Kokomo, Elwood and Tipton.
Hill has worked in the restaurant business before, but got started in the banking industry.
“I have family from Windfall,” she said. “I like the hours and people. It’s just a fun place to work.”
Anderson does the majority of the cooking and works 60 to 70 hours per week as the owner.
“The fun part is coming out of the kitchen and meeting people,” he said.
Anderson said customers are encouraged to recommend lunch specials, and one item on the menu, fried bologna, was added at the request of a customer.
Maggie’s is currently open 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday from and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In May, the hours will be extended to 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Also starting in May, the restaurant will be open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays at the request of local residents.