MawMaw’s Diner continues 81-year tradition at site

MawMaw’s Diner continues 81-year tradition at site

Image Credit: Melissa Herrera

When Bonnie Crider’s husband died, she told herself she wouldn’t do anything for one year because she didn’t want to do anything based on emotion.

One year to the day he died, the little diner that sits at the intersection of Routes 39 and 60 in Western Holmes County went up for sale. Crider and her husband used to frequent the joint for the famous fish that was served there.

“We just live up the road, and we used to come here for George’s fish. We would sit in here and talk about what we would do with it,” Crider said.

Crider took that as a sign and ran with it, and MawMaw’s Diner was born as she became the fifth owner of the eatery, in operation since 1940.

Crider knows a thing or two about the restaurant business, working in the industry since she was very young. She also owns and is part of two other Holmes County businesses.

“The biggest thing we did to get ready to open was come in and clean, paint and reinstall the counter,” she said. “We added new lighting, tables and booths, and updated the kitchen. We’re still working on repairing.”

It opened as MawMaw’s in February 2021, right during the thickest part of winter and the pandemic.

“The locals have embraced us,” Crider said. “Any struggles I’ve faced I’ve overcome by what I’ve physically put into the business myself. I’ve been blessed.”

MawMaw’s boasts 17 employees currently on staff. “We’re open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and plan to keep those hours,” Crider said. “The only change in the foreseeable future is possibly opening on Sunday. We have to get through what we’re doing now before tackling that monster.”

Breakfast is served from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Crider’s focus is breakfast and lunch, serving in-house diner-style meals like massive omelettes, fresh hand-cut potatoes and sausage gravy, and French toast and pancakes. The dinner menu is loaded as well.

“My kitchen manager Laurie and I put together our recipes, passed down from both of our families, to make what we are currently serving,” Crider said. “People want grandma’s Sunday dinner, but nobody has time to make it. We make meatloaf, prime rib and have all-you-can-eat fish every Friday starting at 11 a.m. Our weekly specials are nothing we have on the menu, and they change monthly.”

Along with creativity in surprising her guests with casseroles and items they may not realize they’d been missing, Crider has a rule on the menu that says, “Eat the pie first.” A stocked case full of homemade slices gives incentive to follow that rule.

Hard work and a can-do attitude serve Crider well, and it shows in the small details she’s brought to a well-loved establishment — one she’s made into her own.

“I appreciate the community and all the support they have shown me,” Crider said.

Close to West Holmes High School, MawMaw’s Diner is located at 11058 state Route 39, Millersburg.