Klunders serves up old fashioned food in country-themed setting

Klunder's Kafe

Klunders serves up old fashioned food in country-themed setting
Jim Klunder Jr., third from right, poses for a picture with Klunder's Kafe employees. From left is Shirley Pitz, Kathy Anderson, Sue Wegner, Lynn Miller and Pat Peyton.

Klunder's Kafe

Location:929 West Milwaukee St., New Hampton, Iowa

Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week

Owners:James and Joyce Klunder and their son, Jim Jr., and his wife, Susie

Known for:Homemade food. They make all their pies, cinnamon rolls and breads. A piece of pie is $2.79.


Contact them at:(641) 394-4973

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa - Klunder's Kafe features a country theme with farming-related antiques, old west cutouts of John Wayne and Hopalong Cassidy and photos of local trapper Bud Hall and draft horse enthusiast Kippy Sours, both relatives of the owners.

The building, constructed in 2007, was designed to resemble a barn. A large chicken statue greets guests in the parking lot.

James and Joyce Klunder bought the cafe in 1981 when the business was on the south side of town just off old Highway 63. When the highway was upgraded to a four-lane and bypassed the town, the Klunder family sold their old site and relocated to the north end of town.

The new location, next to a gas station and on the edge of the industrial park, gives the cafe access to the highway traffic.

"We serve old-fashioned homemade food, and you can get breakfast at any time," said Jim Klunder Jr.

He manages the cafe, although his parents still work several days each week except during the winter when they go South.

The Klunders designed the new building themselves. It's all electric with infloor heat. Klunder is investigating putting up a windmill to provide some of the power.


He grew up in the restaurant business working with his parents and five siblings. His three children continue that tradition helping when needed.

Klunder learned the business from his parents. His father started bar tending to make extra money, and after a few years he and Joyce bought a bar in Nashua. For many years the family owned both Klunder's Kafe and the Pinicon across the road. Klunder majored in hotel and restaurant management at Iowa State University and returned home to work in the businesses. He and his brother-in-law ran the Pinicon, and Klunder also worked at Klunder's. In 2007 they sold the Pinicon. Klunder's brother-in-law and another partner now own and manage that business.

"We have a good strong staff out front and in the kitchen," Klunder said of his 35 employees. "That is the strength of this place."

Susie, Klunder's wife, designed the menu, and they tweak it each year.

Breakfast includes pancakes, waffles, hash browns and eggs. They have specialty sandwiches, burgers, and salads. A variety of dinners include beef, ham, shrimp, tilapia, pork chops and New York strip steak.

Several specials are offered each day. Klunder's has all-you-can-eat broasted chicken on Thursdays and Saturdays and walleye on Fridays for $9.99.

Pancakes are made from Joyce's buttermilk recipe. She makes hot crossbuns for Easter and occasionally bakes kolaches.

"My mom is the engineer of the recipes big time," Klunder said. "She draws on recipes from parents, grandparents and aunts."


Being right off Highway 63, Klunder's gets customers from all over the United States. Over-the-road truckers are a big part of the business because there is a nearby lot for them to park and sleep.

Klunder likes the daily variety of running a restaurant.

"I like to be active," he said. "This business is physically and mentally demanding, but I Ilke the rush part of it. It's a lot of fun to come to work when you're busy and everybody is clicking."

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