No Restuarants in Arlington.jpg

Our Place bar and restaurant in Arlington closed its doors, leaving residents without options to eat out in town.

There are no restaurants in Arlington.

In September, the village's only sit-down restaurant, Erika's Village Spoon, closed. Another restaurant, Our Place, which had been in operation for a number of years, closed nearly two years ago.

Typically, traffic was more prevalent in the village during the lunch hour. Many residents enjoyed a Sunday breakfast in town.

But for the last few years, residents who want to gather for social time and a home away from home-cooked meal have had no other option than to leave town.

People can get pizza and sandwiches at a local gas station, but residents say it is not the same as having the opportunity to sit and enjoy a meal.

Carol Hilgenkamp has lived in Arlington for 60 years and sees the impact on the town.

"I eat home a lot, but if you want to go with friends or want an evening out in town, there's no place to go," Hilgenkamp said. "There are a lot of people for whom it was a daily thing. My husband was a mail carrier and ate breakfast every morning in town when he was alive. It's been a detriment all around."

Restaurants can also serve as meeting places.

"A lot of times there wouldn't be a table so you'd go sit with friends," Hilgenkamp said. "It was a meeting place, it makes a big difference in a community. Any time you lose a business it affects a community. It affects everybody."

Though there is no formal restaurant, the Arlington Veterans Club is doing its best to provide opportunities for sit-down dinners, aside from their weekly Wednesday hamburger night which has served 200 burgers a week for more than 20 years. Veterans Club treasurer and secretary Stan Misfeldt said they are trying to expand their offerings to include wings one night, Mexican food and other nights.

"We have a lot of people coming from other towns," Veterans Club manager Angie Schmidt said. "It's always been busy here."

Gayle Russell, who owns the building that housed the Village Spoon, described Arlington as more of a bedroom community.

"No one is in town," she said. "I don't know where all the farmers are going. We need to try and figure out what people want. Farmers were in town eating meat and potatoes before."

It takes more than a few people to keep the restaurants open.

"A restaurant would be nice, but you can only go so often," resident Becky Henige said. "Yes, we need a restaurant, but we alone can't keep it going. The rest of the town needs to make an effort, too."

Seniors citizens in Arlington have some options for dining together at the Arlington Multipurpose Senior Center, with lunch served and supper club dinner being another option on the first and third Tuesday nights.

Senior center manager Cheryl Abbott said the seniors often drove to Fremont for birthday dinners but would try to patronize the Village Spoon during the winter so they wouldn't have to drive in bad weather. She said everyone takes a turn when it comes to serving meals, between the supper club and the Veterans Club.

"When they do their last Tuesday of the month, we don't have supper club," Abbott said. "When we have it, no one else does, so everyone gets to take a turn."

Though Erika's Village Spoon is closed, Erika Delasancha is still cooking in Arlington, serving food on Thursday nights at the Veterans Club.

Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Krause said he was grateful Delasancha is serving food.

"I would certainly love to see a full time restaurant back in town," said Krause. "It takes a special person to be tied to a restaurant."

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