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Blast from the past: A trip down memory lane is likely to lead to Florence's Town and Country Cafe

Staff writer

It’s Friday night at Town and Country Cafe in Florence, and the smell of catfish and chicken-fried steak hangs in the air.

The restaurant is a popular spot for locals and passersby. It offers food like your grandmother used to make. In fact, a lighted portrait of Audine Shipman, hangs in one of the dining rooms. Shipman was Becky Fetrow’s grandmother and cooked at the cafe.

Fetrow runs the restaurant with help from her husband. Her son, Dallas Wells, owns it.

Town and Country has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 1951. Edith White opened the business, and Fetrow’s mother, Carolyn Spencer, who died last year, bought it in 1995.

Fetrow’s parents met at the diner long before Spencer became owner.

“My mom waited tables,” she said.

The restaurant is almost always busy. Regulars drink coffee in the mornings. Waitresses rapidly fill plastic glasses of Florence’s famous spring water.

Wednesday nights feature half-price burgers.

Gravy is a staple at the café. So are desserts. A selection of fruit and cream pies was available on a recent weekend night.

The café is but one restaurant in Marion County worth a visit.

Other ideas for people who are exploring the area:

  • Flint Hills Market and Bakery, 432 Main St., Florence — Try the cinnamon rolls.
  • Rhubarb Market Coffeehouse and Foasters, 104 S. Main St., Hillsboro — Get a chai tea and a scone.
  • Pop’s Diner, 115 N. Walnut St., Peabody — Cheeseburger and hand-cut fries are the way to go.
  • Al’s Café, 101 Berry St., Lost Springs — Start with the flour chips and cheese dip and see where you end up.
  • Parlour 1886 at the Historic Elgin Hotel, 115 N. 3rd, Marion — The prime rib is popular, as are the Cadillac mushrooms.

Last modified Sept. 15, 2022

 

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