The History of Thomas E. Strauss, Inc. – A Lancaster County Hospitality Group
The Shoppes at Miller’s (Route 30) – Lincoln Highway East, Ronks, PA 17572
In the 1920s, the site of the current Miller’s Smorgasbord housed a gas station. At the station, Enos Miller worked on trucks while his wife, Anna, prepared chicken and waffles for the truckers who stopped there. It did not take long for the small, friendly restaurant to dominate the garage business and, in 1929, Miller’s Restaurant was born!
In 1948, Beatrice Strauss, a waitress at Miller’s, and her husband, Thomas, bought the restaurant from the Millers. Keeping the Miller’s name, the restaurant flourished. In 1957, they officially changed the name to Miller’s Smorgasbord and began serving their famous “seven sweets and seven sours”.
In 1963, Stuckey’s Pecan Shoppe opened in the building now occupied by The Quilt Shop at Miller’s. Miller’s Bakery opened in 1973. In 1975, Miller’s Smorgasbord underwent a major expansion which included upgrading the kitchen facilities and the addition of a second dining room. In 1983, another renovation changed the dining room layout at the Smorgasbord. In 1998, a new addition to the family of businesses came with the opening of The Quilt Shop at Miller’s, which focuses on locally made hand-stitched quilts and other local handcrafts. In 2011, an extensive renovation of the restaurant resulted in the addition of an exhibition island in the center of the dining area, enabling a la carte menu dining to be offered as well as the popular smorgasbord. In 2017, a new retail venue, Locally Made Food Shop, opened to showcase Miller’s Bakery treats as well as feature other locally made foods including jams, dressings, coffees, oils, and more.
The Plain & Fancy Farm (Route 340) – Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505
The year 1993 saw the addition of the Plain & Fancy Farm to the TES, Inc. family. Plain & Fancy began when the Lapp family opened the Amish House in the fall of 1959. In 1960, Plain & Fancy Restaurant began serving the first family-style meals in Lancaster County. The gift shop, currently known as Plain & Fancy Country Store, opened in 1965 and buggy rides were added the following year in 1966. Over the next 20 years, additions to buildings and services continued as the business prospered.
In 2003, AmishView Inn & Suites became an integral part of the Plain & Fancy Farm property. This upscale hotel offers breath-taking farm views while featuring spacious guest rooms. The facility also includes a delicious, complimentary, hot country breakfast buffet, indoor pool, exercise room, arcade, and meeting rooms. In 2014, a significant expansion was completed that enlarged the hotel from 50 to 85 rooms, including a new Adult Only wing, featuring Grand King rooms, all with clawfoot tubs, a walk-in shower, and spectacular farmland views.
In 2017, Plain & Fancy Restaurant underwent an extensive renovation. This renovation created space for Smokehouse BBQ and Brews, offering authentic American barbecue, local hand-crafted brews, and a fun new dining experience. Plain & Fancy Restaurant continues to offer family-style meals for groups of 20 or more. It, also, offers event space for corporate events, special occasions, and groups with various menu dining options.
Thomas E. Strauss, Inc. encompasses 2 parcels of land totaling over 14 acres, 10 distinct businesses, employs over 200 folks and serves over 1 million people a year.
Still family owned and operated, right here in Lancaster County, PA.