Friday, September 21, 2018
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Gothenburg eatery receives nation-wide acclaim

Being a small town diner doesn’t stop Deb Meredith from catering to locals as well as out of town customers. One customer from Las Vegas, Nevada commented on Yelp, “Deb and her family serve up great food and great service for the whole town and any folks passing through.”

Deb’s Diner was listed in the article “The Best Diner in Every State” by in October. For Nebraska, the diner is listed with “Come for the sandwiches, stay for the house-made cinnamon buns.” Other awards Meredith has received are the WOW award, being included on HomeTown-Gothenburg, and #3 diner on the Lincoln highway route in the state of Nebraska.

After being approached by a local business owner in October 2008, Deb said she said “yes” to an offer of help and opportunity to buy the diner. “I was so overwhelmed that he had enough confidence in me to succeed, so of course this crazy lady jumped in with both feet,” she said. In November, 2008 Deb’s Diner and Donuts was born.

Out of town customers get extra special treatment. They receive a set of homemade potholders made by her mom with a G for Gothenburg and an N for Nebraska as a “thank you for dining with us,” Meredith said. The south and west walls of the diner are covered with slips of paper with customer’s names, where they are from, and where they are going. “The only continent we don’t have is AntArctica. It’s awesome when we have customers from Paris and South Africa, just to name a few,” she said.

“My favorite part of owning the diner is having strangers come in, but leave as friends with full tummies,” Meredith said. Everyone feels at home at the diner. She said she doesn’t think she has any regular customers that haven’t made a pot of coffee when they have brought back an empty pot.

Meredith shared a story of a family from Iowa who recently came in for breakfast. After having coffee the man got the coffee pot to refill their cups and proceeded around the room offering coffee to others. She said that this family had never been in the diner before. The regulars loved it, she said, especially since his jacket said Iowa. Before leaving Meredith asked him why he served coffee around the room. He replied that where they were from they don’t have places with such a homey atmosphere, she said.

She said she enjoys serving the community and having the customers laughing, sharing their conversation, having a good time and leaving with a happy heart and a full belly. Even after Meredith’s accident when she was laid up for four weeks, customers all came back to support her from the Lodge Brothers to her breakfast and lunch regulars, to the many coffee groups that gather daily.

The greatest challenge for Meredith is knowing how many donuts and rolls to make each day. Determining how much to make for lunch specials isn’t as bad, she said, because customers love leftovers on the buffet on Fridays. Owning a small business is a lot less stressful than owning a large one, she said, especially in a small town.

The diner offers a full breakfast and lunch menu. Including lunch specials, a full salad bar, homemade soup, and dessert. On days she serves pan-fried chicken, she said they have homemade pie made by Deb’s mom. Deb employs her daughter Rebecca, granddaughter Keisha part-time, and granddaughters Grace and Meredith when they’re not in school. “It’s a family affair,” she said.

Even though the business is for sale, Meredith said the doors will never close. “Yes, the hours are long and the slow times are very trying. But, with my family’s help, the help from the community, and the grace of God, I will continue, God willing, until it changes owners.” She said she appreciates the support of her family, the community, and all her customers from coast to coast and from overseas.