New Harmony woman sells restaurant after 39 years

NEW HARMONY, Ind. (WFIE) - A staple of Main Street in New Harmony is going through some changes, as the owner of Main Cafe is selling the restaurant following 39 years in business.

The Main Cafe in New Harmony has been a local favorite for a long time, including the time Nina Duckworth has been the owner after buying the restaurant in April 1982.

Her reasons for buying a restaurant are simple.

”I just love to cook and be around people,” Duckworth said.

Buying the place was her brother’s idea, and it’s been a family affair ever since, with various cousins, nieces, grandkids and more working for her over the years.

The decision to sell came after some recent health struggles and the death of her husband.

”I didn’t want to quit, but there’s a time, I’m 80 years old and there’s a time to enjoy my life,” Duckworth said.

Nina says she’s selling the restaurant to a local woman she thinks will do a great job, and is even passing on some coveted secret recipes to the new staff.

The transition has been an emotional strain on the restaurant’s current manager and Nina’s niece, Kim Jennings.

”Until I talked to you, I was fine with it,” Jennings said. “I guess until I really realized what’s going on. You know, that this is done, so it’s hard.”

When the place changes hands, the new ownership is planning to remodel and update the historic building, meaning it will be closed for a while.

Duckworth’s last day in charge will be December 18, and she’s planning on giving free biscuits and gravy to her regulars.

”There’ll probably be a whole crowd in here that day because nobody wants to see us leave,” Duckworth said.

As new ownership settles in, she expects the place to feel just like it used to. So customers will have to stop by if they want a Lemon Triple Treat, Duckworth’s favorite.

Duckworth says she’s looking forward to traveling and spending more time with her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

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Robinson  Miles

Robinson Miles

Robinson is a reporter for 14 News and is excited to be in the Tri-State.