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Owners closing, selling Isabell’s Cafe in Thetford

  • Owner Don Hodgdon takes a breakfast order out of the kitchen at Isabell's Cafe in East Thetford, Vt., on Nov. 23, 2004. In the background are Fay Sanborn, far right, and Patty Evans. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Owner Bev Hodgdon welcomes Olley Hoagland, of Thetford, Vt., for lunch at Isabell’s Cafe in East Thetford on Nov. 23, 2004. Hoagland and her husband had already been to the restaurant that day for breakfast — they come almost every day. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 6/16/2020 1:53:04 PM
Modified: 6/17/2020 1:53:04 PM

EAST THETFORD – Isabell’s Cafe, the Route 5 roadside diner which was a long-time favorite breakfast and lunch eatery among Thetford-area residents, has closed permanently.

Owners Bev and Don Hodgdon posted on the Thetford listserv on Tuesday morning and said that "with sadness and mixed emotions” they have decided not to reopen Isabell’s, which has been closed since before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have been so blessed for 17 years to love and serve our community. The property is on the market and we hope it could continue on with such a mission,” the Hodgdons said.

Known for its homespun hospitality and simple diner menu, Isabell’s was a daily stop for many Thetford-area residents, who also were known to pitch in and volunteer whenever one of the Hodgdons could not make it in to work because of illness.

“Other than recycling, it was where you saw everybody,” said Gene Kadish, a retired Hanover High School counselor who lives a couple miles from Isabell’s and said he ate breakfast there “at least once a week … It got to the point when your meal was done you took your dishes up. Most of us had the menu memorized.”

Isabell’s is the latest Upper Valley restaurant to announce it is closing since the pandemic began, following Lebanon Diner and Hanover restaurants and cafes Salt hill Pub, Skinny Pancake, Noodle Station and Morano Gelato and The Whippi Dip ice cream and sandwich cafe in Fairlee.

The Hodgdons could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. They said in their post they would be contacting patrons who had purchased gift certificates in recent months to make plans for repayment.

Contact John Lippman at



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