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Lengthy History



The Dutch Village Restaurant and Gift Shop as it stands today.
P-J photo by Sara Holthouse

Editor’s Note: This article continues the series on historical places in Chautauqua County, focusing this time on the Dutch Village Restaurant and Gift Shop in Clymer.

CLYMER — While the building that currently houses the Dutch Village Restaurant and Gift Shop in the center of downtown Clymer has been in existence since the 1800s, it was not actually known as the Dutch Village until around the 1950s.

From the late 1800s to 1920 the building housed a tack and harness shop owned by JW Newhouse. In the 1920s the building was split down the middle with the shop on one side and a restaurant owned by Chris Christensen on the other. In the 1930s and 1940s Newhouse’s son Al ran the restaurant side of the building until the entire building became a restaurant in 1940.

Two people known as Whitley and Johnson then took over in the late 1940s to early 1950s, serving homemade ice cream. In the early 1950s the restaurant was taken over by Rorabacks until Emma and Floyd Cady took it over in 1954.

The Cadys would be the ones to coin the restaurant The Dutch Village, operating it for about 20 years and also adding the dining room in the back in the late 50s.

A look at the area which would eventually become The Dutch Village. This photo is from around the early 1900s, and the building farthest to the left would eventually be home to the restaurant, with the three other buildings in the photo torn down throughout the years, the last torn down in late 2023.
Submitted photo

In 1973 Doris Michael took over from the Cadys, and she would run it until 1975 when it was owned and operated by Gene and Paul Luke. This was also when The Dutch Village began to offer their signature bakery items such as homemade bread, sweet rolls and pies, which are still offered to this day.

From 1979 to 1991 George and Shirley Carutis operated the restaurant. In 1992, their daughter and current owner of The Dutch Village, Deb White and her husband Kevin took it over. In 2000 the Whites tore down the building next door and added an addition, which is now home to the restrooms and the gift shop. In 2005 they remodeled the original restaurant section, giving it new windows, tables and counters and in 2007 and 2008 they purchased the old mill behind the restaurant which would become what is now an expanded kitchen space and back area where the buffet is held, and includes a parking lot for employees. In 2017 the pavilion out back was added.

Deb White said that being able to keep The Dutch Village going these days means not only a lot to her but to the community.

“It not only supplies a living for myself but for my 30 employees,” White said. “It’s important to me to be able to provide stable jobs and to provide a service for the community.”

Many things have changed over the years, from the increase in technology to the loss of some of the small farmers in the area. White said the loss of Clymer Farm Supply and Maplevale also affected them.

In the future, more remodeling is planned. On March 11 White said the restaurant will shut down what they refer to as the coffee shop space and give it a “face lift”. The area will reopen once the remodeling is done.

White said the community has supported the restaurant for many years, using it as a gathering and social place. She added that she hopes for it to be able to keep going for a long time.

“We appreciate the community we live in and the customers and employees,” White said. “I hope it will keep going. I would hate to ever see it shut down because that would have a big impact on the community as it is one of the thriving businesses.”

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