Most families avoid bringing children to a restaurant where it may take two hours to be seated. But they flock to Yoder's Dutch Pantry on Saturday mornings despite the wait.
The Grifton restaurant, adjacent to Yoder's Farm and Garden Supply, is a fun place for youngsters and adults to hang out for a couple of hours on the weekend. And the breakfast definitely is worth the wait.
The Amish cafe and bakery has become a destination for folks from the 252 and beyond.
The main reason people drive out into the country early on a Saturday morning: the food.
A star of the menu is the Dutch Breakfast: two pancakes or one piece of French toast served with house-made butter syrup (this is a must!); two eggs cooked to order; choice of bacon, country ham, link sausage or patty sausage; and choice of home-fried potatoes, shredded hash browns or buttery grits.
Another stellar choice is the Dutch Biscuits and Gravy: one split biscuit covered with sausage gravy topped with two over-medium eggs and surrounded by home-fried potatoes and shredded cheddar cheese.
And if you don't have room in your tummy for a house-made cinnamon roll, get one from the bakery case to take home with you. They are spectacularly good.
Other baked goods, made fresh daily in the Yoder's bakery, include beads, fruit filled rolls, sticky buns, maple nut twists and cookies.
But the food is just part of the Yoder's appeal. There's also the ambience provided by the country store.
When it's cold or rainy, patrons wait inside, where they can sit in porch rockers or wooden benches or browse the store. Shelves are stocked with tools and farm implements, work boots, birdhouses, decorative yard flags, beekeeping supplies, cooking utensils and scented candles.
There's also Corky, a green and yellow bird whose job title is "overseer of all operations at the store and night watchman."
And when it's warm enough outside -- which in eastern North Carolina is most of the year -- adult patrons wait outside and chat, relax in the porch gliders and swings handmade by the Mennonites (there's an attached price tag if you want to buy the one you're sitting on), check out the flowering plants or the baby chicks, and enjoy the country air.
The children, meanwhile, work up an appetite playing on slides, swings and the pirate ship that are part of the backyard play sets offered for sale at the store. They pretend to steer the John Deere tractor. They run and laugh.
You'll leave Yoder's several hours later with a full belly, a smile and possibly a porch bench or some baby chicks or a geranium or two. What a great way to start a Saturday.
Yoder's Dutch Pantry
102 NC 118, Grifton (between Grifton and Vanceboro)
Yoder's Dutch Pantry Hours:
Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays (breakfast served until 11 a.m.); 7:00 a.m.-2 p.m. Satursdays (breakfast served all day, lunch after 11 a.m.)