New Butler County diner opens to ‘amazing’ crowds, reduces hours due to cook shortage

Farmhouse Diner closes at 4 p.m., five hours earlier than when it opened last week.

In the first week, the owners of Trenton’s newest restaurant have been overwhelmed by their customer support, but have found themselves short staffed, a common theme in the restaurant industry due to unemployment benefits.

Farmhouse Diner opened last week and was expected to be serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, but due to an employee shortage started closing at 4 p.m. until more cooks can be hired and trained, said Barb Nease, who owns the restaurant with her mother, Max Murphy.

Barb Nease, who co-owns Farmhouse Diner in Trenton with her mother, delivers plates of food to customers Monday morning. The restaurant has been open for one week and because of a shortage of employees has reduced its hours. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Barb Nease, who co-owns Farmhouse Diner in Trenton with her mother, delivers plates of food to customers Monday morning. The restaurant has been open for one week and because of a shortage of employees has reduced its hours. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Murphy said the decision to close early came after discussing the employee situation with her husband. They agreed that instead of having customers waiting for long periods of time for their food order, it was best to shorten the hours and improve the service until more employees are hired.

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Last week, Murphy said, a cook worked a day shift that was a “mad house.” He was scheduled to work Friday and Saturday night, but called off both days.

“That caused chaos,” she said. “It was starting to cause people to get mad at us.”

Murphy said it’s hard to find cooks who have the “ability to handle the rush.”

She said most of the reviews on social media have been positive, though some customers have complained about the delay in service.

“We are trying our best,” Nease said.

On Monday, which marked one week since it opened, there were two cooks and four waitresses, including Nease’s sister, Rikki Murphy, serving a crowded 43-seat dining room.

Nease said there have been times when the wait for a table has been 30 minutes and people have parked across the street.

“Amazing,” she said when asked to describe business. “It’s been that slammed.”

Nease, who lives in Trenton, said the community needed a restaurant that serves home-cooked southern food and Farmhouse Diner fills that void.

“That’s what people like,” she said. “We are busier than we ever expected. It’s been crazy.”

Nease said those in the family-owned business spent thousands of dollars remodeling the inside of the building that has housed numerous restaurants that have failed over the years. The inside is decorated in a farmhouse theme.

“That suits us,” she said.

HOW TO GO

WHAT: Farmhouse Diner

LOCATION: 514 E. State St., Trenton

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday

MENU: Eggs, pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy, hamburgers, chicken wings, chicken tenders, fried chicken, meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, soup beans, salads, desserts.