Goin’ Nuts Café celebrates 25 years in Salisbury

Russ and Shirley Horne from the early days of Goin' Nuts Cafe, sometime around 1991.

Russ and Shirley Horne from the early days of Goin’ Nuts Cafe, sometime around 1991.

In observance of its 25th anniversary this week, Goin’ Nuts Café is celebrating with free cake and wine for guests and hosting a magician and bands.

Dinner specials are planned for Thursday, with magician Bow Tie Magic performing, along with MP Steel, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

To make reservations, call 410-860-1164.

Owners Russ and Shirley Horne, who formerly owned Dockside Murphy’s with Butch Martin, opened Goin’ Nuts at 947 Mount Hermon Road, in 1991.

The restaurant’s unusual name is the brainchild of Russ Horne, who, his wife said, “Likes to tell people if you’ve ever been in the restaurant business, you know it makes you go nuts.”

“I can recall a few funny stories from our years in business,” she continued.

“The Bounds brothers were all regulars and we actually named a sandwich after Charlie. It’s still on the menu as Charlie’s Grilled Cheese. He had requested a grilled cheese so often that we put it on the menu.

“I once took Frank Perdue a meatball on his pasta, by mistake. He was a vegetarian and was quite taken back. We’ve had various politicians visit and actress Linda Hamilton is a regular when in town, as her Mom lives nearby.

“The Potters brought their love-story of a lifetime together to us every day. At lunchtime, Bud would sit in the bar with a gentleman friend and Mrs. Potter — he called her The Queen — would meet lady friends in the dining room. But they would blow kisses to each other and flirt from room to room.

“In the evenings, they would sit together, but only at table No. 10. They once told me that the only thing they cooked at home was BLTs.

“After they passed, their friends could not sit at the Potters’ table for quite awhile.

“We also had a favorite couple renew their vows one Saturday afternoon on their 50th anniversary,” Mrs. Horne said.

During the years, she said, changes have been made.

“We have evolved into a more caring community. Non-smoking was introduced, as well as a great knowledge regarding alcohol and driving.

“Weathering the debate of impact fees, Goin’ Nuts started a trend in 1992 with open patio dining. Today, our climate allows outdoor dining most of the year round and we may now bring our dogs with us,” she said.

When the restaurant opened, it was the first in town to have jerk chicken, black bean soup and Reuben chowder on the menu, so free samples were offered to what Horner, with a smile, called “the adventurous.”

“Some old-fashioned notions like linen napkins, fresh flowers, heavy silverware and glass candle globes are still popular today despite a growing tendency toward casual dining,” she said.

Among popular menu items are the spicy Caribbean salad, baked brie in a pastry puff; crab cake with bacon, pizzas, prime rib, pasta and salads.

Horne has been a guest on a local TV news program that features a cook, making Goin’ Nuts’ angel hair pasta with garlic sauce and shrimp.

“We want to thank Delmarva for 25 years of success,” Mrs. Horne said, adding many customers have dined there since the establishment opened and those familiar faces have become friends.

“With a loyal staff of 30, most employees, including the general manager, Bob Regels, have been working for the restaurant for 10 to 20 years,” she said.

“Countless relationships have been treasured as Goin’ Nuts became like a second home for many folks.”

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