Driving through Brookville, there are certain businesses that stand out for being an expected, and longtime feature on Main Street.

The Dairy Cottage is one of these old-time establishments that is widely known and highly regarded.

Truth be told, no one really knew exactly when the Dairy Cottage officially first opened. Mike Holman, one of the current owners, decided to go to the recorder's office to better understand the history of this storied establishment.
On October 2, Mr. and Mrs. Elvin M. Beaver first opened the Dairy Cottage on Main Street back in 1958. They sold the business a few years later to Gary and Nina Shaw who ran it for several decades until 1996. That same year on the first of July, Mike, his wife Becky, and his brother David Holman purchased the Dairy Cottage and have ever since.

The Holmans were friends of the family to Gary and Nina Shaw for many years. Mike and David's mother had worked for Shaw doing the books and payroll for the company. When her two sons turned sixteen, Gary offered them both a job. Mike started working in 1986, while David followed in ‘88, and both continued working throughout high school and a little in college, before they went on to do other things.

Before they departed however, they informed Gary that if he ever decided to sell, to let them know. Sure enough, time progressed, and the Shaws eventually did make that call and the Holmans then took over the reins. Mike recalled a few changes that have taken place over the past six decades. One being, when the two brothers first started, there had been a couple of walk up windows on the building and there was also no drive thru window.

Just a couple of years before the Holmans took over the business, the building had burned down and was a complete loss. It is thought to be associated with the on-site laundry at the time.

As is the case for many, COVID-19 had affected the Dairy Cottage, especially near the start of the pandemic. As the summer approached and cabin fever was in full force, more outdoor activities were being pursued, thus making business steady again. As the summer progressed, they were receiving many call ahead orders for buckets of their delicious chicken.

Top sellers at the Dairy Cottage restaurant include tasty Jo Jo's, the G-boy, their legendary fried chicken, and in the summertime, they create homemade sherbet ice cream. Calls go year-round with people inquiring about it. During the winter season, ice cream sales naturally decline, so since there are no preservatives in their sherbet, they keep this delicious treat for folks to enjoy in the summer months.

Mike explained, "We rotate between three flavors: Orange, Pineapple and Raspberry. We've tried lime in the past but it's not as popular. Those who love it, love it, those who don't.... well, they really don't."
So, the lime flavor hasn't been done in a while despite those who continue to long for its return.

"I feel that a lot of times, restaurants say something is homemade when it's not,” Mike explained. "We make our own chili as well as the chicken breading too. Because our menu is so big, even the pickiest of eaters should be able to find something here. The chicken is always fresh. We get our chicken delivered three times a week, from O'Mara Foods in Greensburg."
This ensures the quality is always available, so they can prepare their legendary chicken.

"Everything we serve, we serve all day long," said Mike. "So, when we open at 9:30, you can get fried chicken then. During the summertime, there are many who travel through Brookville to do a number of different activities. For example, many like to get out on the lake earlier than we actually open. People will call on their way from Cincinnati and ask if they can pick up a bucket of chicken at 8 or 8:30, before they head out to the lake. And we'll do it, we're here already, so we just make sure the front door is open and they can pick up their order before they head out for the day."

In talking with Mike further, it became apparent that he isn't one to toot his horn, and humbly refused to declare that the Dairy Cottage has the best chicken around. However, many returning customers would say just that. After talking with a few patrons of the restaurant, one customer, Bill, acknowledged that he doesn't live around here anymore, but continues to come back for the past 20 years!

He loves their chicken and said, "I always remembered on Wednesdays they had their chicken dinner."

Jessica declared, "I've been coming here for a good 20 years!"

The chicken is her favorite menu item as well.

Alvin could not determine exactly when he first started coming to the Cottage.
He said, "It's been a good while. I remember when Gary Shaw used to own this. When the school was up here, after school, we kids would come up here to hang out."

However, it's not only the patrons who share their love for this establishment. Many employees here have been with the business for decades. Several have been working at the Dairy Cottage for over 15 years, and then there's Debbie, who has been with the business for 30 years! Speaking with a couple employees about what keeps them coming back, it was declared across the board how they love the co-workers they work with. Such dedication to an establishment speaks volumes to the type of business run here. Brookville has a rich history.

The Dairy Cottage is a blast from the past and a prominent part of our future.