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Norwich - Olde Tymes Restaurant, with its landmark rustic brown building and décor that features old sewing machines, tools and household items, will celebrate its 30th anniversary Thursday with an open house that will feature a 20-foot-long buffet table of free food.
Owner Rodney Green said the restaurant purchased the building at 360 W. Main St. on Feb. 1, 1984, and opened the restaurant Feb. 22. The core menu has remained much the same over the years, featuring hearty American meals with southern favorites along with popular breakfast staples.
Green said one major change hit the region and the restaurant in the early 1990s that he is still trying to overcome - the opening of two huge casinos with numerous restaurants within a few miles of the Norwich West Main Street commercial strip.
"Before the casinos came to town, we were the number one dinner restaurant in the area," Green said. "And now, people think of us as a breakfast restaurant. We can't pay the bills on breakfast."
Green hired a new executive chef, Travis Snodgrass, three months ago, and the restaurant will re-emphasize its meals not only made from scratch, but made by hand without food processors.
At the open house, which will run from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Olde Tymes will roll out samples of 10 to 15 items the staff is considering adding to the menu. Restaurant staff will describe each dish as participants fill their plates. There will be a cash bar and soft drinks for sale. The open house is for eat-in patrons only.
Some items to be sampled might look and taste familiar, including tweaked versions of Olde Tymes meatballs, meatloaf and homemade spaghetti sauce.
One new item to be sampled Thursday will be Iowa style breaded tenderloin.
Participants at the open house will be asked to fill out surveys of the dishes they sample to give the staff input on the recipes and appeal.
What: Olde Tymes Restaurant 30th Anniversary Open House
When: Thursday, Feb. 6, 4:30 to 8 p.m.
Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce ceremony, 5 p.m.
Where: 360 W. Main St., Norwich.