skip to main content skip to footer

Our Story

The Story Of The Cow Cafe

A long time ago, a local dairy at which Mildred Green was a key person, was preparing for a food show. Mildred had the idea of a Cow Cafe for their booth exhibit and it was done, complete with adult cows perched on barstools having ice cream and milkshakes, to the baby cow sitting on the floor, drinking its bottle of milk. The dairy won the award for the best booth exhibit.

Some years later, when Mildred and Jim came together, not only in Holy matrimony but in their career endeavor as well, Mildred told him of the food show booth and asked what he thought about the concept of a real Cow Cafe. Always wanting to please his bride, Jim looked around and found space at the dairy that could be converted into a little cafe, sort of. In something near record time and with no restaurant experience, Jim transformed a little 800 square foot area into the first Cow Cafe, complete with lots of black spots on white backgrounds. It opened December 19, 1994 and the cafe served hot dogs, ice cream, offered a few cow gifts for sale and featured a little barnyard play area which they called "Calf Corner". It was determined right away that there would be no bulls, steers or heifers at the cafe, but only mama cows, papa cows and baby cows. The mission statement was simple, "To bring a smile to children in need of a smile".

Containers of ice cream lined up along counter
outdoor area of cow cafe with a sign, tables, and chairs
person in cow costume standing infront of kids

Cow Cafe quickly became a popular site for locals who were looking for a fun place to get away for a quick lunch or just to relax and soak up the atmosphere while having a dish or cone of ice cream. It continued to grow in popularity until the dairy was sold in 2003. Since Mildred and Jim had begun it as a personal project with retirement in mind, they retained ownership of the cafe and after a short vacation break, began to look for a site for the new Cow Cafe. The present location at 319 Middle Street was located and construction was begun in the spring of 2004. On October 7, 2004, the new and improved version opened to the public. A far cry from the original, this café covers 3,500 square feet, offers a full line of hearty sandwiches, features more than 500 different kinds of cow gifts and makes just the best homemade ice cream possible in a small, glassed in production room, so that visitors can watch it being made. "The Farm" dining area is surrounded by murals of farm scenes and there is a large barnyard play area complete with rocking cows, tractors and lots of other things to keep the little calves busy and happy. The front dining area also offers a fun atmosphere with a "moo choo train" that circles the room, a "Bovine Boutique", decor that is designed to make it a fun place to be for any age and a decibel level that is considerably lower than on "The Farm".

While we might not be considered a "fine dining" restaurant, the menu has expanded and we now offer a full line of sandwiches, plates, wraps, salads, soups and special desserts and, oh yeah, we now make almost forty flavors of homemade ice cream. Birthday parties abound and we frequently entertain school groups with good food and stories told by one of our Happy Herd and assisted by Mooford the Cow. We now cater to groups in and around New Bern and finally, we have our very own website! Best of all, we are rated the only "4 Hoof" Restaurant in our state and just maybe the whole United States!

The mission statement has changed just a little over the years. Because we learned that "children" came in all sizes and ages, the mission statement for the new cafe was and is, "To Bring a smile to PEOPLE in need of a smile". We hope we accomplish that with every customer. We invite you to come and visit us when you are in the area, leave all the cares and concerns of life at the doors and just come in and let our Happy Herd serve you and make you feel welcome!