The Country Stop is a Hennepin Landmark

35 years... and still a local favorite

Image courtesy of the Putnam County Record
A decent early breakfast can be hard to find in some places, but Hennepin isn’t one of them. For 35 years, area residents have known where to go for great food and warm greetings.

Cindy Migliorini opened the Country Stop Restaurant in 1979, although it wasn’t quite her idea.

“Basically, my dad was putting in the market next door and I was working at O’Connor’s at the time,” Migliorini said. “He said, ‘Do you want to put in a restaurant?’ and I said ‘Sure.’”

A typical day for Migliorini starts between 3 and 4 a.m. when she wakes up. The restaurant opens at 5 a.m., and some days she’s in early working on the day’s specials. Sometimes, she said she arrives in time to let the first people in.

“It depends what I have to do. If I have to bake pies, or if there’s a delivery due, than I have to be here,” Migliorini said. “It just depends on what’s happening.”

Everything in the Country Stop is homemade by Migliorini’s own hands, although through the years, she’s had some help keeping the restaurant open ... and not just by the hired help.

“When I started, I didn’t have any kids; I wasn’t married. Things change, and the business grew. Even though my kids have careers and college, they still come back and help,” Migliorini said. “Except for my son. He worked here one day and said, ‘This isn’t for me,’ and he never came back to help.”

She credits good workers and help by the family for keeping her and the restaurant going, but especially her customers who come back day after day, year after year.

“The best thing about it is all of the people I’ve met that I never would have met otherwise,” Migliorini said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and about life here.”

Through the years, she’s seen a lot of changes in the area, but not all of them have been good for her. When the Country Stop opened, Migliorini said the most busy time of the year was hunting season.

“That’s changed. With the new technologies and changes, a lot of hunters have those small grills and stuff and take it with them,” she said. “When I started out, they didn’t do that. They’d come back here for a sandwich or something. Now they just stay out all day.

“Sometimes, trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for things ... it gets to you,” Migliorini said. “You never know what’s going to happen in this area. Some days, everything goes so smooth, and the next it’s just like the first day you opened.”

Being a fixture of the area for so long, Migliorini has a very loyal clientele. That’s not always as good as it sounds. Customers become family, and after 35 years, some of those customers pass on.

“This year, we lost three of our everyday people. That’s when you really start thinking about the past. I wish I would have kept a journal,” she said.

Source: Putnam County Record