Editor’s note: For the month of December, there will be articles showcasing local restaurants and their owner’s holiday traditons. This issue will give readers a chance to get to know the management of Torrington’s Deacon’s and the Emporium in Hawk Springs.
GOSHEN COUNTY – With the holidays right around the corner, Deacon’s staff will be keeping it warm and cozy with holiday inspired specialty drinks. Guests can also expect to see other treats to make your dining experience merry and bright, like peppermint lattes and some seasonal additions to the salad bar.
Sharon Rogers, who takes care of the salad bar, said she typically adds pistachio salad, taffy-apple and cherry fluff.
“I’ll take something else off and I’ll add an extra, but I always have the buttermilk salad (orange fluff) on there,” Rogers said. Rogers has some ideas to add, but hasn’t finalized them yet.
Keeping up with family traditions, Shalina Riley, the general manager of Deacon’s, says while growing up it wasn’t uncommon to have salsa and tortillas when it came time to have family gatherings.
“We kind of did a mix between, you know, traditional and Mexican,” Riley said. “If you don’t have those things during that time it just kind of feels incomplete.” Riley said she also looks forward to her mom’s bread each year.
When it comes to traditions, Riley’s family has their Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and then goes back to do presents on Christmas day.
The holiday treats don’t stop at the edge of Torrington. For just the cost of a drive, the Emporium in Hawk Springs has some holiday goodies coming up as well.
Offering private Christmas parties and home cooked soups, pies and more, “we sell a lot of our special buttermilk pecan pies during Christmas,” Dennis Simmons said.
Simmons is the owner of the Emporium and bakes all of the desserts. Simmons has two new cooks that he said take great care in making sure the food is done right, and the presentation of plates truly matters to them. “We’re doing a lot of homemade rolls, of course homemade soups, that’s all we do – we do everything homemade,” Dennis said.
Simmons’ daughter Dillon can also be found helping out around the restaurant and they work together to make the establishment very family friendly.
Throughout the years the Simmons’ have kept some family traditions, like tamales and pork chili for dinner on Christmas Eve and having a 5,000 piece puzzle that gets pieced together throughout the holidays, and added some new ones.
Dillon said that for the last two years she’s incorporated raffle tickets for the kids.
“In order to get the kids to help clean up, if they did something, they would get a raffle ticket...every time they would do something, like clear a plate or put something in the dishwasher, they get a raffle ticket,” Dillon said. “At the end we drew the raffles and then they could pick out of the prize bucket.”
Look for more restaurant features through the month of December.