LAFAYETTE, Ind. — There’s nothing like home-cooked meals, but there aren’t many mom-and-pop-owned restaurants left that cook from scratch.
Oliverio’s is one that has stood the test of time. The long-time owner is passing the baton, but she’s keeping it in the family.
Oliverio's has been under the same ownership for 41 years.
"It’s a love that you just...it’s going to be hard to get out of your system," said Candice Oliverio, the now-former owner.
"I was just getting old. It’s time to go," she said with a laugh. "My granddaughter is getting married this year and I want to be able to enjoy my life a little bit and move on."
And who better to pass it on to than someone you’ve known for more than 35 years?
"My daughter Tammy was in fifth grade with her and she started dragging her home, and she never left," said Oliverio.
Andrea Hale has taken the reins at Oliverio’s.
"I worked for her all through high school, through college and I even worked for her the year after I graduated," said Hale. "I waitressed 'til I got a teaching job and got married."
Hale said she had always wanted to be a teacher and after 28 years in education, "you get to the point in a career where you wonder 'what is Chapter 2 going to look like?'"
"About a year ago, she mentioned to me that she was ready to sell, and with a lot of encouragement from friends and family, I went for it," Hale said.
Oliverio chose to pass along her legacy to someone she knew loved her family and loved the restaurant.
"I really am honored," Hale said, holding back tears. "I know that she’s passing it on to me with love, and I knew she wouldn’t do that for just anyone. She had offers and she chose to pass on them."
And the legacy of the restaurant isn't changing.
"It means family, said Hale.
The restaurant's traditional Midwest staples aren't changing, either.
"Biscuits and gravy from scratch, baked steak, fried chicken, ham and beans and meatloaf," Hale said. "There's a solid foundation here, so I don’t like the word 'change', I like the word 'tweak.' I may add a couple sandwiches here and there."
Hale said she wants customers to continue to feel that Oliverio’s is the next best thing to home.