Owner Howard Johnson moved to Smyrna five months ago after spending the last six years living in Clayton. When his family moved, Howard said they hadn't planned on opening a restaurant but one trip to Smyrna Town Hall for a pool permit changed everything.
"I can tell you Janet Vinc is the reason we did everything," Johnson said. "She's the person I met when we went into the town office and she's the one who pushed and promoted for this."
Johnson said when he went into town hall that Vinc, Smyrna's Manager of Planning & Zoning, told him everything about his South Street house. Vinc even took Johnson on a tour of the town to show him possible locations for a café. It's a few months later and Odd Fellows Café is open.
The restaurant offers breakfast and lunch seven days a week, and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Johnson, who has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, said the café offers typical American cuisine. There's no set dinner menu as the options will change each week but items such as crab cakes, and chicken and dumplings will be mainstays on certain nights.
Johnson plans on working with the community as well including remaining open for Smyrna Opera House events and getting his products from vendors at the Smyrna Farmer's Market.
The café only just opened last week but Johnson said he's received a great response from the community. Their first dinner rush was Oct. 4 and Johnson said they had a full house: "We had the whole dining room full. It shocked me, it was really wonderful."
The support from the community started before the café even opened last week. From town employees to residents to one Smyrna couple finding doors in the trash that would eventually become the front doors to the café, Johnson said people have been extremely supportive.
"The people here have truly proven to be gracious," Johnson said. "Every single person who's been in here has had nothing but nice things to say."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.