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Farm Wife Operates On-Farm Restaurant
What does a farm wife do with extra time in the middle of the day after her family is grown up and gone away? Iowa farm wife Mrs. Phyllis Hoist, of Davenport, uses the time to operate a special kind of restaurant right on the farm.
Hidden Hills inn has been open for more than a year and is doing a thriving business. It's a tea room that serves a luncheon meal between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Luncheons are by reservation only, with one hot entree served. Private dinner parties can be arranged at other times.
Mrs. Hoist's tea room has a special rustic charm in its setting near a pond in a grove of oaks in the middle of the Hoist 220-acre farm. It is a 20 x 24-ft. log cabin with a screened-in porch on the front and a kitchen on the back.
"I chose a log cabin because it was the right kind of building for a rural setting," Mrs. Hoist told FARM SHOW. "Also, if the business hadn't worked out for some reason, we figured we could move into it and use it for a home."
"This part of the country is zoned agricultural," she says. "That allows some small businesses in the country, and my place is classified as a meeting room. That's why all meals have to be served on a reservation basis. We also have to meet all the health requirements of any place that serves food. We have regular state and county health inspection."
Other planning included getting a small business loan from the local bank because Mrs. Hoist wanted to keep the business operation completely separate from the farm operation.
Mrs. Hoist is in charge of all the cooking and gets some parttime help from other farm wives in the neighborhood. She can handle 30 people in the main dining room, and in summer another 20 can overflow out into the screened-in proch.
For farm wives who would like to try a country restaurant Mrs. Hoist offers the following tips:
"Most of my business is from the city. We're near the Quad Cities with a lot of people, and I feel that you must be close to a high population area to make it go. Also, we are only one mile from exit 301 on Interstate Highway 80, and that is convenient. And, of course, you have to be sure that you can meet the building codes and zoning regulations for a country place."
Hidden Hills Inn is the fulfillment of a dream, but it is still very much a sideline to farming for Phyllis Hoist. She is in the barn with her husband night and morning to milk their 80-cow herd of registered Brown Swiss cattle. Another part of farm operation is the raising and marketing of about 2,000 crossbred hogs per year.
Mrs. Hoist will gladly share with other people her experiences in starting a country restaurant. Mail your questions and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: FARM SHOW Followup, Hidden Hills Inn, Route 1, Davenport, Iowa 52804 (ph 319 332-5616).

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #3