Photo by Chad Koenen
Ryan and Elizabeth Eckman reopened the Old Homestead Cafe on May 1 after closing the rural Henning restaurant for over one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Old Homestead Cafe reopens after closing due to COVID-19

By Chad Koenen


Just over one year after closing their doors due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan and Elizabeth Eckman are back in the kitchen, serving up homemade breakfasts and lunches at the Old Homestead Cafe. Situated on a busy stretch of highway just west of four corners in rural Henning, the cafe officially reopened on May 1 and business hasn’t slowed down ever since. 

“We are busier than we ever were before,” said Ryan.

That was welcomed news for the Eckmans, who were uncertain about what kind of a response they would receive after reopening this spring. The cafe closed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infinite days. With so much uncertainty facing the pandemic and its long term effects on individuals, the Eckmans opted to close their restaurant, instead of trying to manage occupancy restrictions and the unknowns of the pandemic. 

“It was a battle we weren’t willing to fight,” said Ryan. “I think we made the right choice, we are still here.”

As restrictions surrounding occupancy limits and the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine improved, the Eckmans debated about when they should reopen their bustling cafe. They picked May 1 in order to get up and running before the busy summer season and allow them to avoid having to worry about blocking off tables in the already small dining room area.

Since reopening the Eckmans said they have been pleased with how many people have returned for meals, while also being shown quite a bit of support from patrons. 

“We hear it everyday, ‘we are so happy you are back, we missed you,’” said Ryan. 

The Old Homestead Cafe is located at 55870 State Highway 210, Henning and features a variety of burgers, melts, pies, soup and breakfast items that are served all day long.