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Oliver's Ozarks: 90-Year-Old Keeps 'Maxine's Diner' Cookin'

WARSAW, Mo. -- How will you celebrate your 90th birthday? A Warsaw woman did just what she wanted to mark the milestone. She showed up for another day of work in the kitchen at her cafe.
WARSAW, Mo. -- How will you celebrate your 90th birthday? A Warsaw woman did just what she wanted to mark the milestone. She showed up for another day of work in the kitchen at her cafe.

In Oliver's Ozarks, we see once again why so many people enjoy a meal with Maxine's Diner.
 
"Better be good now," laughed restaurant owner Maxine Howard.
 
Seven years ago (flashback video above), we met Maxine Howard at her restaurant in Warsaw. At age 83, Maxine would show up to work at 3 in the morning and make mouth-watering meals all day.
 
"Oh the food's great. She has great chicken. The meatloaf's out of this world, and her desserts are more than fantastic," remarked a customer.
 
Maxine told us cooking kept her young, and even offered her thoughts on retirement down the road.
 
"I've always said my goal was I'm gonna cook till I'm 90 and then I'm gonna quit," Howard said.
 
Well, Maxine just turned 90, and quitting isn't in the cards.
 
"I work every day. Seven days a week. Work about 140 hours every week," says Howard.
 
A few years ago she moved her namesake eatery to a new location in Warsaw. Customers keep coming in for their favorites. Today at 90 she still shows up at 3 a.m. and is the last one out the door each night.
 
"I prepare the food for the buffet. The only thing I don't do is fry the chicken and mash the potatoes, but everything else is prepared by me," says Howard.
 
"She's a hard worker," adds waitress Virginia Johnston. "I've learned a lot working for her."
 
Maxine still doesn't use any recipes. She says it's all in her head from when she learned to cook with her mother 79 years ago. Customers and employees implored Maxine to keep going past 90.
 
"They asked me to go to 95, but I'm not going to guarantee them that I will go to 95," laughs Howard.
 
No matter how much longer Maxine keeps making meals, she says her love for cooking and the customers she calls family will always remain the same.
 
"I don't know what drives me to work. But if I'm in that kitchen I'm the happiest person there is," says Howard.
 
Maxine actually goes to work at 1:30 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday to get ready for her weekend crowd.
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