MARION CENTER — The owners of the Home Made Restaurant along Route 119 in Marion Center are handing the restaurant over to a longtime employee and focusing instead on ice cream.
Cindi and Damien Kordell are selling the establishment to Wendy Weeks, who began working there as a waitress 14 years ago. The Kordells are retaining ownership of the adjacent golf course and the Home Made Ice Cream Shoppe and expanding their ice cream sales through an ice cream truck called the Home Made Ice Cream Express.
“We have been thinking about transitioning out of the restaurant (business), but realized that we’re not able to retire yet,” Cindi Kordell said. “We thought, well, let’s capitalize on the ice cream room. We’ll be able to take it to the surrounding areas and let people try our wonderful homemade ice cream.”
The Kordells have owned the restaurant for nearly 16 years. But with a new grandson and feeling ready to step back from what seems like a 24/7 job, they decided to sell it.
Weeks, for her part, was ready to buy it.
“It’s just kind of the right thing to do. I’ve been doing it for so long. I really love it,” she said.
She started working as a waitress when she was 17, and has covered dishwashing shifts and worked at the Ice Cream Shoppe. Eight years ago she started cooking.
“I’ve kind of done everything,” she said.
Weeks said she might “tweak” the menu to add some new options, but that it is “basically going to stay the same.” She also said she wants the customers to be “part of the evolution.”
“I really do love this place and it’s been part of my growing up,” she said.
Kordell said she’ll miss the people she served every day.
“We have a strong loyal base of customers who have become, over the years, really an extended family to us,” she said. “The customers have become a part of our lives.”
Without the restaurant taking their time and energy, Kordell said they will focus on the ice cream side instead. She said soft-serve ice cream will return to the Ice Cream Shoppe. But their newest venture is the ice cream truck that will take their homemade, hand-dipped ice cream, soft serve, shakes and novelties around Indiana County.
And in honor of their new grandson, their signature treat — an ice cream sandwich featuring homemade ice cream and cookies — is named Zeekies.
The ice cream truck “lets us really make the most of the ice cream,” she said.
Kordell said they bought the truck on eBay and hired Kevin McGill to do the artwork. It will start making rounds in the spring and continue as far into the fall as the weather allows, she said.
The Home Made Restaurant is marking the transition with a “Passing the Torch” celebration on March 23.