Flooded California town fights to keep its only restaurant

When Kim Troughton found her diner under 2 feet of water this week, she figured that was the end of Kim’s Country Cafe — the only restaurant in the tiny farming community of Maxwell, Calif.

"Putting my own money into it is not an option, because I don't have any," the 53-year-old said. She also lacked flood insurance.

But after suffering through a flood that sent water into at least 50 homes, including the home of Troughton's daughter, residents of this Northern California community of just over 1,100 weren’t about to let her throw in the towel. 

"Everyone knows everyone here, and if they don't, they do after something like this," said Sarah Hendrix, Troughton's daughter.

Even though her home was surrounded by water, firefighters used a truck to pick up Troughton and take her to her restaurant and then helped her salvage what food they could find. The building was a mess however, and the necessary repairs were overwhelming, Troughton said.

But then an area contractor nicknamed Fuzzy reassured her.

“Kim, we got this,” Troughton recalled him saying, her voice choked up with emotion. “We got this.”

The community helped her launch a GoFundMe account to help with expenses. By Thursday, it was almost halfway toward its goal of $9,000.

"You always know there's a good feeling here, but when something like this happens and the people that stepped up to help me reopen — because they wouldn't let it close — it's so humbling," Troughton said.

When an eager television reporter visited the diner earlier this week to report on the floods, Troughton said she set ground rules.

"I said 'I don't want your cameras in here, I don't want your microphone in here.' This is sanctuary for my guys," she said, referring to her regular customers.

Troughton has lived in Maxwell for 23 years and has operated the brick-red building on Old Highway 99 as Kim's Country Cafe for the last five. But like virtually everything else in this tiny agricultural community about an hour's drive north of Sacramento, the location is steeped in history.

"I don't remember a day that went by that my grandpa … didn't stop into the Cafe," Colleen Johnson wrote on the cafe's donation page. "It may have changed names over the years, but it is a part of my childhood and a part of Maxwell. Our prayers are with you."

joseph.serna@latimes.com

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