Southern Girl Diner opens in Dolgeville


Julie Izzo, one of the owners of the Southern Girl Food Truck, serves an early dinner at a local Fresh Thursday event in Burke Park.

by Dave Warner

After three successful years in the food truck industry, Heather Lamphere and Julie Izzo have decided to move permanently to the former Alfie’s Diner store at 83 North Main Street in Dolgeville.

Izzo is from the area, lives in Salisbury and attends Dolgeville schools. She is a teacher in Richfield Springs, teaching English in high school.

She said: “I always thought that would be what I did in retirement, but I guess we get to it a little earlier than that.”

Lamphere and Izzo started with the Southern Girl Food Truck about four years ago and they were working hard with it, but having fun at the same time.

Lamphere is originally from Ashville, NC, and she’s been in New York City for about 21 years but hasn’t lost a bit of her accent. “I’ve been in the Dolgeville area for 18 or 19 years now.

She has worked in the restaurant business for 32 years. “I have probably worked in at least 30 restaurants in my life.

The idea for the food truck came to her while she was at home with the kids, thinking about what she wanted to do when she returned to work.

“My sister passed away four years ago, and she was a wonderful cook, and she inspired me to continue after I let her down on that idea. She said to follow your dreams, you totally can do it, ”Lamphere said.

She began to think of all the people who had inspired her over the years with that sense of home, roots and family recipes that had been passed down to her. “I decided I wanted to cook, and I wanted it to be good for people and something the kids would enjoy.”

Lamphere loves festivals and events and she thought that “people need something different to eat when they go to a festival. So that’s where these different, increasingly sophisticated food ideas came from. ”

“It’s just kind of taken off – it was a crazy, crazy idea,” she said.

Izzo said Lamphere was babysitting her children one day and she told him about the idea. “One day I parked in the driveway and here’s this giant pink food trailer in the driveway, and I was’ what is this? “”

Lamphere had bought it just three weeks before the Violet Festival, and this was going to be his first time in public with the idea. Izzo said, “Are you going to prepare all this by then?”

Izzo watched the daily progress and felt she wanted to be a part of it as well. “So it was Violet Festival week and she was going crazy getting ready and I said, who’s helping you?”

“Who’s going to be with you all the time because you can’t do it on your own,” she said.

Lamphere said, “Well, I have no one,” so Izzo said she would be there.

Photo of Dave Warner – Heather Lamphere and Julie Izzo stand at their new Southern Girl Diner in Dolgeville.

Since that day, the two have worked together to make the Southern Girl Food Truck a success. Lamphere said, “We’ve been like Gouda and Blackberry ever since, which is one of our favorite sandwiches.”

They worked in the food truck market for two years, starting with smaller salons in the first year and then bigger ones in the second year. “This first year has been a real learning year for us,” said Izzo.

“You kind of have to be invited to the biggest shows,” Lamphere said.

They had their first big surprise at the 40th anniversary event of the Remsen Barn Festival. “We won the top spot for Food Truck Sellers,” Lamphere said. “We were beside ourselves.

“It was a great second year, but our third year was COVID and we didn’t open up at all. So this is our fourth year, but the third in business, ”she said.

Izzo said that while they are planning to open the restaurant in Dolgeville the first week of September, they will continue with the last scheduled events of the year with the truck.

“Sometimes the opportunity presents itself and you have to jump on it,” Izzo said. “They were friends and followers of our food truck and people who supported us from day one to bond and want their dinner back,” Lamphere said.

“We’re always going to do the Cheese Festival in Little Falls because those festivals in Little Falls and the events in Dolgeville were really the springboard for us. People know us and follow us on Facebook and we want to keep following, ”she said.

They also plan to have the food truck at the 315 Foodies event on September 26, 2021, as this group aims for the world record for the longest board of deli meats. “We’re very excited about this too,” Lamphere said.

The food truck for the two was like a fun part-time activity during the summer. “An intense day of girls’ work,” Lamphere said.

Lamphere quits her full-time job to open the restaurant. “It’s going to be a lot easier for me, I’ll be here in my hometown. I don’t have to travel and my children are here at school.

Izzo says she will help as much as she can while continuing to teach for the next 12 years. “Whether it’s early in the morning, after work or on the weekend, I’ll be there, but my life will definitely be different.

The two said they plan to open 7 to 2 Tuesday through Sunday. “We plan to bring our food truck sandwiches here and incorporate them into the menu, but also typical dinner dishes,” Lamphere said.

Soup sandwiches, burgers, pulled pork and all the traditional breakfast dishes will be on the menu, but you’ll also see a little southern touch.

“There’s going to be homemade oatmeal and fries in there. And, for lunch, I’ll also be making shrimp and grits, which is also one of my favorites, ”Lamphere said.

You can expect their many kinds of teas and many homemade pies and desserts. ” Very warm. Kind of like home cooking, ”she said.

“I love it all because people are so happy when they have a full stomach,” Izzo said.

“We’re going to add our own touches so it’s not like every other restaurant. We’ll have all these old stages, but we’ll have the ones that go with our brand… a little Southern cuisine, ”Lamphere said. “A place where you can take your family to eat. ”

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