I have seen more and more of these Amish home meal businesses emerge over the years. It was once the case that these were more off the radar, so to speak. Now it seems in recent years they’ve become more public, and we see another example today from Illinois. A writer named Cindy Ladage describes how you can eat in an Amish home in the Arthur settlement through one or two local go-between companies:
A few Amish families in the Arthur countryside open their homes to outsiders. I have experienced this opportunity twice: once for my husband Keith’s birthday with two other couples and another time with a group of friends. Before the second meal, we shopped and had a fun girl’s day out, finishing it up with dining in the same wonderful woman’s home.
Elizabeth was our hostess, and she was very gracious. Her home was simple and nice. She was willing to answer questions about her garden and food preparation. Our meal was served at a lovely, long wooden table, and dinner started with a prayer. She and her daughter then provided water, lemonade, and a serving of homemade bread, butter, and apple butter. The salad was accompanied by homemade ranch dressing. Many of the items on the table came from her large garden. The meal included fresh corn, mashed potatoes, and amazing noodles, chicken, and meatballs.
Dessert was a choice of peanut butter or strawberry pie. When I went for Keith’s birthday, Elizabeth had baked a beautiful angel food cake as well as an extra for sale. Keith immediately took it off her hands!
One of our commenters, Carole, described something similar in 2017:
I’ve had dinner in an Amish home twice in the Arthur, Il area. Both times were with my church women’s group and our husbands. Arrangements were made by phone through an outdoor phone set up where one left a message and someone returned the call. The Amish women serving us were very reserved and didn’t interact with us very much. I think neighboring women helped the main hostess.
And also Ohio:
Once when we were on a bus trip to the Amish area of Ohio. the group of us ate in an Amish home. The hostess was much more outgoing than the Illinois ones. After eating, the three sons of the family sang several songs for us. They weren’t extremely talented, but very enjoyable. All three experiences were good.
Funny enough I also met an Amish family in the Arthur settlement who does this way back in 2004, so it’s been a thing in this community for some time. Back to Cindy Ladage’s article, describing how she set up the meal:
When I set up my tours, it was through a company that is no longer in business, however, ACM Tours offers tours dining in Amish homes. The cost is $27.50 per person and is the same no matter what age except for a child under the age of five. They also offer a guided tour for motor coaches and large group discounts.
Barry Burnett of ACM Tours said, “There is a minimum of eight people for a group meal. It is best to reserve a meal with two weeks’ notice and if the group is larger than eight or so, the further out, the better.”
He also noted that if you need to change numbers that it needs to be done at least 3 to 4 days in advance or you will be charged for the number of meals that were ordered.
Arthur Chartered Tours out of Tuscola, Illinois, also offers Amish in-home dining as well. We found the food and the opportunity to dine in an Amish home a fascinating look into their lives and culture. The experience offered a wonderful chance to sample the food the Amish are famous for!
Let us know if you know of similar opportunities in other communities.