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Homemade Hospitality

Eden Meadow Banquets Serves Goodness in Abundance

Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
Photography Provided

Booking a table at Eden Meadow Banquets is like being invited to dine with Owners Clyde and Vera Miller. In fact, for smaller parties that is exactly what happens, and for larger parties it is almost like being at home in the welcoming banquet space.

The banquet hall can easily accommodate 12 to 90 people. Most of the parties booked are on the smaller scale, from around 20 to 40 people. Vera Miller recently hosted a banquet for international college students visiting the area, and the celebration of a 50th wedding anniversary attended by 86 people. She has also hosted smaller groups visiting Shipshewana and looking for that authentic taste of homemade meals. If the group is very small, she serves them in her home kitchen, joining the group at the dinner table with Clyde.

She grew up in the kitchen, helping to prepare meals on her family’s farm. Her menu reflects that early training, and the Thrashers dinner is one of several meals she offers guests.

“Mom and I would fix the thrashers dinner when people came to fill our silo,” Miller says. “I guess I was born to do this.”

The Millers started their banquet business in 2009 at their farm in Eden Township. They moved their banquet business into a building that had been previously used for the same type of business. The banquet hall sits next to the couple’s home, just outside the busy Shipshewana community.

“I always dreamed of doing this, even when I was at home,” Miller says.

The Millers have been married for 27 years. They raised five children and enjoy their three grandchildren.

Everything on the menu is prepared by Miller. It is a multi-step process to get everything ready for the banquets she hosts at Eden Meadow. She has a schedule memorized to prepare for each banquet. She schedules time to bake bread on banquet days, and pies the day before. Condiments like salad dressings can be done earlier in the week. Setting the table is also something she can do ahead of time to allow more time for meal preparation.

From salad dressings to home-baked pies, from the mashed potatoes to the fried chicken, Miller uses the recipes she learned at home to serve her diners.

“I serve the dishes that I like to make,” she says.

Guests choose from several different packages. The most popular is the Thrashers dinner, priced at $22 per person including tax and tip. This meal is served family-style, which means plates of food are passed around the table. The package includes a choice of two meats – chicken, baked ham, baked steak, roast beef or barbecue meatballs. It includes homemade bread with jelly or apple butter, chicken dressing, homemade noodles, real mashed potatoes and gravy, choice of vegetable, choice of salad, a dessert or mixed fruit, choice of pie, and coffee.

Another package is the Soup and Salad dinner, with the customer’s choice of two soups and salad, bread, three different desserts, and coffee. Soup selections are broccoli, chili, taco, chicken noodle, hamburger cheese chowder, and white chicken chili.

The Chicken dinner package and the Haystack dinner are other popular choices among diners. Miller also offers brunch and a Breakfast Stack package.

Miller’s selection of pies – also baked by her – is extensive. Pecan, cherry, raspberry, apple, peach, chocolate, lemon, banana cream, peanut butter and a no-bake cream pie are available all the time. Strawberry and rhubarb pies are only served when the required produce is in season.

Desserts, which are a separate category from the pies, are also plentiful. Guests can choose a creamy frozen mocha, a frozen strawberry dessert, cheesecake or puddings, among other sweet endings.

Aside from serving her guests homemade goodness and friendly hospitality, Miller says she enjoys seeing people enjoying their time together.

“I want people to have a good time and fellowship,” she says. “I like it when people are having a good time.”

For more information on Eden Meadow Banquets, located at 1745 South 1000 West in Shipshewana, call 260-499-0150.

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