April's Country Kitch'n in Newcomerstown will have a celebration on April 1 as it begins its 23rd year of serving the community.

Owners April and Bob Beall have made a lot of changes to the restaurant over the years. Since opening on April Fool's Day in 1995, they have expanded by adding two large banquet rooms and a back kitchen.

The beautiful and cozy banquet room in the back of the building is not all that familiar to some of April's customers due to its secluded location away from the hustle and bustle of the front of the restaurant. In fact, some do not even know it is back there. But the spacious room has its own set of restrooms, a working fireplace, and it can easily seat 50-60 people. Both banquet rooms are very popular for birthday parties, baby showers, wedding parties, and funeral dinners.

April's banquet rooms are really great for special occasions, but April's country-style cooking is the number one draw. Her popular menu keeps loyal customers coming back time and time again. April has always loved to cook.

April says she has always loved to cook but never had any thoughts about opening a restaurant; she had lots a secretarial experience. She worked for General Tire and Rubber until the year of its big layoff. And prior to the opening of April's Country Kitch'n, she worked for Gary Baker in the IGA's central office for 13 years.

Then one day in 1995, her husband, Bob, and David Welch called her at work and asked if they could take her to lunch. April said, "I thought lunch? I never go out to lunch." But she said, "Yes," and went. April said, "Bob and David sat there and giggled and laughed without saying anything. I said, 'What is it?' and they just laughed more. They were driving me nuts and I said, 'WHAT?' Then I heard, 'Well, you know how you love to cook? ... We bought you a restaurant,' and then I yelled, 'You did what?'

Bob Beall bought Gary Chaney's Village Cafe and David co-signed for him. Bob chose the name, "April's Country Kitch'n."

In 1995, Heller's or Simmond's Industries was still open and business was especially busy. April and Bob were able to pay off the mortgage within a few short years and begin expanding the business. April said it was an awesome time when the factory was open. The pace of business was fast and delicious.

To this day, April's Country Kitch'n continues to serve plates that have become standards, such as the liver and onions, or the hot roast beef. New menus are on the horizon with a few country-style additions. All salad bar and dessert items are prepared and created in April's kitchen.

She said, "Not only do I like to cook, I have fun doing it. I like people and like having fun with them." She continued, "I know you cannot please everybody. In every business and service, you receive both positive and negative comments. You know, I used to cry my eyes out when I heard some of the negative remarks. That was until I came to terms with the fact that you just cannot and never will please everyone ... some people you can never please ... that's life. But I find comfort and joy in knowing that there are many people who like our food and love coming here."

April's Country Kitch'n, located at 640 Heller Dr., Newcomerstown. 740-498-4242. Open Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m.-3 p.m. The popular Breakfast Buffet is served Friday and Saturday until 1 p.m., and Sunday until 2 p.m.