How to Eat a Meal in an Amish Home (2 Ways)
How can you arrange a meal in an Amish home? We’ve covered this topic on this site before on numerous occasions – with a lot of good comments from people sharing their experiences.
With people visiting Amish communities this summer, I thought it would be good to go into the topic in a video. And also, what should you expect at an Amish home dinner?
As explained in the video, experiences can vary. In a nutshell, there are a couple of ways to arrange dinner in an Amish home – either through a word-of-mouth contact, or via go-between companies who have emerged to service this demand in different Amish communities.
I share more on pricing (which varies a good bit but seems to range anywhere from $20-40) and what a typical meal menu is like.
Below you’ll find a list of contacts that provide meals or help arrange them. I’ve had to remove one from this list (Nolt’s Family Dinner Haus in Allen County, Indiana), which has apparently closed. Nolt’s was a bit different from most – while typically these meals are arranged in advance for groups of a minimum size, Nolt’s would serve individual walk-ins.
Unless things have changed in the meantime, there is at least one Amish family (Cindy Burkholder of Panama, NY) providing for individual dinner guests (with a reservation), but most adhere to the group + advance arrangement model.
There are more places than this out there, but it is a start. These aren’t endorsements of these businesses, but are provided for your information.
Not all Amish home meal businesses are necessarily licensed (which is why they were more under-the-radar in previous years), so use your own judgment when arranging a meal. Let me know in the comments if you know of others which should be on the list.
Amish Home Meal Businesses
discoverlancaster.com – meals at the home of Samuel & Ruth Lapp in Lancaster County
amishexperience.com – arranges meals at the homes of three Amish families in Lancaster County
amishfarmandhouse.com – offers bus tours of Lancaster County combined with a meal at an Amish home (possibly still on pause due to covid)
Amish Heartland Tours – organizes group meals at Amish homes in Holmes County, Ohio
Cindy’s Home Cooking
348 Weeks Road
Panama, New York
Provides dinners in her home
Visit Shipshewana – lists several Amish home meal places
8400 E Colonville Rd
Clare, MI 48617
amishmeals.com – arranges meals with Amish hosts in the Arthur, IL community
ACM Tours – arranges lunch and early evening suppers at Amish homes in the Arthur settlement
There is a third way to eat a meal in an Amish home of course, but takes a bit more time investment. That would be making friends with Amish people and getting invited to dinner. Here’s a comment from someone (Ken Tibbetts) who has had this experience:
It’s conincidental that the subject of meals at or with Amish should come up today…because it was just last Wednesday that my wife and I, along with a friend were invited to dinner with Amish friends of ours. This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon; we have had many meals with this Amish family. And, they’ve had several with us…yes, the whole family at our house – all nine of them.
What a sumptuous meal it was: pizza (homemade by our hostess), noodle casserole, two kinds of salad. And, for dessert four different kinds of pie.
What a time we had: singing, story telling, listening to “harp” music. We not only have meals at each other’s houses, we even visit restaurants with our adult friends. What a good feeling it is to have such great friends from a totally different culture than the “English” one in which we exist.
Hope you enjoy the video (runtime 8:29):
Amish Farm and House Tour in Pennsylvania
This “sunset picnic” is operating and, while a bit pricey ($60), I recommend it! We went for a second time this year and enjoyed seeing the host family again! (It was on hold for a while due to the host family’s building projects, not COVID.) The food isn’t entirely “home-cooked,” but it’s good! What makes this special is that the entire family is welcoming and happy to answer questions… including the children.The first time we went, we were truly surprised at how “non-commercial” it was!
Neat to hear that Walter. They probably should update their website since this is on the front page still: “There’s no better way to experience the Amish way of life than eating a homecooked meal inside of an Amish home. This tour is currently not available for Summer 2021 due to COVID restrictions. We hope this tour returns in the fall but if not- we’ll see you in 2022.”
I think having a host family that is willing and hopefully genuinely happy to engage with guests is at least 50% of what this is all about. Because otherwise you can get similar food in any number of area restaurants.
That’s interesting because we first did this in July of 2021, then returned in July of 2022. In 2021 we ate under a grape arbor in the backyard, but had dessert and crafts in the home. This year we ate in their “temporary” home (the second floor of the barn, which will ultimately be used for church services and activities when their new home is finished).The Farm and House operation has an Amish-operated BBQ stand on location–the main course at the picnic is “catered” by it and supplemented with home-made desserts and sides such as chow-chow.
Inaccurate websites and Facebook pages are a HUGE problem in the Lancaster area. We learned quickly to call and verify hours and days places were open. I’m probably biased, but it seemed that the places operated and staffed by the Amish were much more dependable and did not have the staffing issues many places did. There was no shortage of help at the picnic–the entire family pitches in and they won’t let you help wash dishes. (Several of us tried. LOL)
I think hours at businesses now are just less reliable in general, I suppose due to labor issues. Interesting to hear your experience in the Lancaster area – especially since it’s such a tourist-heavy region.
I remember the BBQ stand you mention – there was a fundraiser for the family that owns this in 2020 after their children were hit by a pickup truck (One of the girls was pretty badly injured, I hope that her recovery went well) https://amishamerica.com/fundraiser-card-shower-for-amanda-king-family/
Ada Miller's Family Style Dinners
Ada Miller’s ” Family Style Dinners” is fully licensed. Her food is amazing!
Thanks Tracey – this would be the “Ada M.” I have listed above for Clymer, correct?
I’ve eaten twice in Amish home-type settings. Once was in Daviess County, Indiana, when I was with a tour group of about forty people. We ate in a special building the family had erected for the purpose of serving meals to guests who paid for the meal. (The family did state that they also use the building for church services when it is their turn to host). The food was very good, cooked and served by a three-generation family who also sang a couple of songs for us after the meal, but not much opportunity to interact with the family.
The second time was in the Shipshewana, Indiana, area when I was with a church group of about fifteen people. Again the food was very good, served family style and was served in the kitchen/dining room area of the family’s home. This experience was much more enjoyable and included lots of visiting/asking questions of the family during our time there. Especially enjoyable was that after the meal, the school-age children of the family sang some songs and recited some poetry they had learned at school.
I have also eaten supper a couple of times with an Amish family I have known well for several years. I must say that both of those meals likely were much more typical of how the family normally eats — things such as food they had previously canned — green beans, pears, chunks of pork,etc. and no fancy desserts — just some real good cookies.
What I have enjoyed even more with this family is the several times I have stopped by in the evening after supper and we all have popcorn and grape juice they have made. We all sit around their large kitchen table, enjoy the refreshments and have a good visit. The parents make sure that all of the children (ranging in age from 3 to 18) are part of the conversation. On most recent visit, I had a U. S. atlas book in my car so took that in the house, and we all had a good time just looking up locations on the maps and talking about various places we had been in several states (Ohio,Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, etc.).
Those all sound like nice times Al and I would especially enjoy the last one you describe with the road atlas:) Do you happen to know if the Daviess County operation is still doing meals?
I haven’t been to Daviess County in two years, so don’t have much information about meals in Amish homes.
I looked at the online Daviess County Visitors Guide and listed there is Dillon Amish Tours whose listing includes “Family Style Amish Meal” for groups of 15 or more. I’m not sure if a group has to do the whole tour of the Amish community in order to partake of the meal, or if a group can just schedule the meal. Their phone number is 812-296-1775.
Gotcha, thanks Al. Was just curious about a source there. Am pondering whether to put together a special page listing all these places.