For as long as I can remember, my family (and, honestly, every other family in Tipp City) has managed to make a trip to Sam and Ethel’s at least once a month. In fact, a lazy Sunday morning often doesn’t feel quite complete without a trek to the cozy local restaurant.
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As it turns out, this Sunday morning sentiment has existed at Sam and Ethel’s since it was first opened by Bill and Flora Senseman in 1944. Then, over a decade later, in 1957, Sam and Ethel Moore took over ownership of the restaurant and turned it into the establishment that locals know and adore today.
The original building, located at 120 E. Main St. in Tipp City, was originally built in 1868 and used as a shoe repair shop and an ice cream parlor until it was turned into a restaurant.
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Today, Keith Long is the owner of Sam and Ethel’s. Since 2010, Long — along with his clan of devoted staff members — have managed to sprinkle a bit of the small-town charm of Tipp City into their delicious breakfast-centric dishes.
When asked about what was so uniquely special about the atmosphere at Sam and Ethel’s, Long simply chalked it up to the history of the place.
“I think it’s the history,” Long said. “Customers come in every day who tell me that they can remember what the restaurant was like 20 or 30 years ago. Some even talk about how they used to work here. I get a lot of people coming in every day who say that.”
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Though the restaurant serves other dishes that don’t involve breakfast foods, Long admits that eventually, he realized just how popular the breakfast dishes had become, and decided to change the business hours to reflect this change to a restaurant that was breakfast-first. For nearly two years, the business has been operating from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on every day but Sunday, when they’re open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They serve breakfast all day.
If you’ve never trekked to Sam and Ethel’s and are unsure of what to dig into, Long has a few suggestions.
“Our most popular dishes by far are the skillets, plate-sized pancakes, Ethel’s Plate, and the Downtown,” Long said. “Those are the classics. You can’t go wrong by ordering one of those.”
Before Long purchased Sam and Ethel’s in 2010, he fully admits that owning a restaurant was not something that he had ever planned on doing — at least until he saw that the restaurant was for sale. He attributes much of his success to his employees’ past and present, a loyal clan who truly love serving food to the equally loyal clientele at Sam and Ethel’s.
“A lot of people got their start in the restaurant industry here at Sam and Ethel’s,” Long said. “Some still work here years later. It’s a loyal group.”
So, the next time you find yourself in Tipp City, be sure to soak up the special ambiance that exists within Sam and Ethel’s. As a Tipp City local and avid fan of diners, I can tell you that this restaurant truly checks all of my boxes. Sam and Ethel’s is more than just a cozy diner; it’s a Tipp City institution.
Sam and Ethel's is located at 120 E. Main St. in Tipp City. You can learn more information about the restaurant by visiting samandethels.com or by calling (937) 667-0113.
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