Before she serves her last meal in the old place today, dozens of customers and friends showed up Thursday evening to bid farewell to Sharon Dodds and her Sharon's Billtown Cafe near Williamstown.
"It's a jolly time. Everybody's having a nice evening," said Gus Barnett, of Oskaloosa. "There's a touch of sadness here because a lot of folks don't know what are we going to do now for a good place to eat."
For 18 years Dodds has operated the cafe along U.S. Highway 24-59 northwest of Lawrence. The locals rave about her homemade biscuits and gravy, pies and chicken and noodles.
Arthritis is forcing Dodds, 63, into retirement. She had a contract with Hamm Companies that allowed the restaurant to stay on the land until she ended her tenure.
"The camaraderie here every morning - the coffee drinkers and all of the farmers catch up on all of the local gossip. Everybody's going to miss that," said Dave Taylor, of Oskaloosa.