Good Eats: This and that on the local restaurant and food scene


(Posted March 2, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The restaurant and food scene in Madison County is moving and shaking. Check out the following recent developments.

Ben & Joy’s Restaurant in Mount Sterling has expanded its buffet days to Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The restaurant’s new owners plan to open a meat market in the restaurant in May.

Ben & Joy’s adding meat market
Chad Moore and Davon Donovan, the new owners of Ben & Joy’s Restaurant, 35 S. London St., Mount Sterling, plan to convert part of the restaurant previously known as the Angel Room into a market for fresh meat. The market is tentatively slated to open on May 1.

“We will be offering select cuts of beef, hamburgers, steaks, sirloins, brisket, roasts, and more right from the butcher. We’ll also give customers the option of buying in bulk, like a quarter, half, or whole beef,” Moore said.

The idea is to provide residents with a local place to pick up fresh meat for cookouts, dinners, and the like.

“We want to make it readily available for people so they don’t have to drive 20 to 25 minutes out of the way,” Moore said.

As for day-to-day operations of the restaurant, Moore and Donovan took over ownership of Ben & Joy’s on Nov. 19. They have stuck with the same menu the previous owners had.

“Ben & Joy’s has been a huge staple for almost 40 years,” said Moore, who is originally from Grove City and moved to the Mount Sterling area about four years ago. “I used to go there growing up. We’d go for the buffet.”

As the new owners, Moore and Donovan started off offering the buffet on Sundays in December and added Saturdays in January. They now offer the buffet on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

The restaurant is open every day, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. The next step, Moore said, is to add evening hours starting with Fridays and Saturdays and later adding Thursdays. The plan is to add the evening hours starting May 1, the same day they hope to open the meat market.

In related news, Moore and Donovan purchased the property at 17 E. Main St. They hope to renovate the house that sits on the property and rent it out for residential use. The future of the second building on the property, formerly home to the Mad Hatter cafe, will be announced soon.

Mad Hatter closes
Following the change in ownership of the 17 E. Main St. property, Mount Sterling resident Becky Martin closed the Mad Hatter, the shop she owned and operated from that location for 5.5 years. The Mad Hatter served breakfast and lunch and provided a place for others to sell their wares on consignment. At least 10 vendors at a time had their items for sale at the shop. Items included fairy gardens, dip mixes, jams, honey, clothing, jewelry, baked goods, and home decor.

“It’s been a great ride,” said Martin, who closed the shop on Feb. 10. “I feel like it was a great thing for the community. I know we’ll be missed.”

She said she has leads on another business venture in Mount Sterling but, for now, is taking time off to regroup.

Legion expands food offerings
American Legion Post 417, 27 Clark St., Mount Sterling, has expanded its food service options. As of Feb. 11, the post serves breakfast using recipes Martin shared from her former Mad Hatter menu. The Legion’s breakfast hours are Monday-Saturday, 8-11 a.m.

The Legion also has expanded its lunch hours, days, and menu. For the past few years, the post has been open for lunch three days a week. As of Feb. 13, they are open five days a week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Every day except Fridays, the Legion serves lunch items, including soups and sandwich wraps inspired by Mad Hatter recipes. Fridays are reserved for fried perch and shrimp all day. On Wednesdays, the post offers special dinners, such as lasagna, meatloaf, and chicken and noodles, along with their regular lunch menu.

The public is welcome. Legion membership is not required to enjoy breakfast or lunch. Eat-in and carryout options are offered. To place an order, call (740) 869-2795.

Mad Cow Bar & Grill in London opened last fall and offers lunch and dinner every day, plus brunch on Saturday and Sunday. A liquor permit was recently shifted into the owners’ names.

Liquor Permit for Mad Cow
On Feb. 16, London city council approved a liquor permit transfer for Mad Cow Bar & Grill, 18 E. High St., London. Until the transfer, Mad Cow was using the permit under a manager’s agreement with the former owners of the property. The transfer puts the permit in Mad Cow’s name.

Locally owned by brothers Jesse and Jeremy Fields and their father, Dennis Fields, Mad Cow Bar & Grill opened on Oct. 15. The business serves lunch and dinner every day, plus brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Among the signature menu items are smoked chicken wings, brisket, and pulled pork. The Mad Cow Burger is topped with barbecue sauce, onion tanglers, candied bacon, smoked gouda cheese, and habanero bacon jam on a pretzel bun. Cheese curds, cauliflower wings, salads, and chicken tenders are some of the other offerings. The kitchen also serves up dessert and a kid’s menu.

The brunch menu includes chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, French toast, and the Mad Cow breakfast plate (eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries, and toast). A la carte items and special coffees and drinks also are included on the brunch menu.

The full bar serves beer on draft and in bottles, as well as liquor, including signature bourbons, seven days a week.

Live bands perform on Friday nights. Saturday is karaoke night. Families with children are welcome until 9 p.m. every day.

Mad Cow Bar & Grill hours are: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-2:30 a.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday.

The London historic review board recently approved signage for Sammi Faye’s, a cafe slated to open this spring on South Main Street.

Signage approved for Sammi Faye’s
Sammi Faye’s is a new cafe slated to open this spring at 25 S. Main St., London. The city of London’s historic review board recently approved signage for the cafe. Visit and find them on Facebook for updates.

Procter Store Change
On April 1, the Procter Store, 119 S. Main St., London, will become the London Farm Fresh Market. Rodney and Rebecca Rucker are taking over operations. They plan to bring in more produce, expand store hours, and increase vendors. A grand opening is set for April 2.

The Procter Camp & Conference Center started the indoor farmers market in 2019. The upcoming transition will allow Procter, located on State Route 38 in London, to return its focus to its main mission of

On April 1, Rodney and Rebecca Rucker will open the London Farm Fresh Market, picking up where the Procter Store is leaving off.

being a summer camp. Procter plans to increase programming and continue operating its six-acre hog, chicken and vegetable farm. The farm will stock the London Farm Fresh Market with meats, produce, and Community Supported Agriculture offerings.

The Procter Store will remain open on Fridays and Saturdays through March.

Butcher Block rabbit hunt
The Butcher Block restaurant in London hosted its first annual rabbit hunt. A total of 54 hunters in three-person teams competed, harvesting a total of 85 rabbits. The winning team took home $590 in prize money. The rabbits were cleaned and a Butcher Block chef prepared hasenpfeffer (rabbit stew) as a free meal for hunt participants.

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