Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Harland Sanders’

Walking on Holy Ground: Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken Cafe & Museum, Corbin, KY

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 6, 2013

While in Kentucky, make certain you visit the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green.

Journeys

In Kentucky, Fried Chicken History

By
Published: August 24, 2012

WHEN making his rounds as a traveling salesman for a Chicago printing company, Duncan Hines would occasionally pull off the Dixie Highway in Corbin, Ky., and eat at Sanders Cafe. In the 1939 edition of “Adventures in Good Eating,” his pioneering restaurant guide, he recommended the cafe and its adjoining motor court as “very good place to stop en route to Cumberland Falls and the Great Smokies,” highlighting its “sizzling steaks, fried chicken, country ham, hot biscuits.”

The Sanders Cafe and Museum in Corbin, KY / Jonathan Palmer for The New York Times

The Sanders Cafe and Museum in Corbin, KY / Jonathan Palmer for The New York Times

The cafe is still there, only now it incorporates a museum and holds down a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, for one huge, unignorable reason. The owner, chef and resident genius of the place was none other than Colonel Harland Sanders, who, on this hallowed ground, cooked the first batch of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Cumberland Falls does not work the magic it once did, and Corbin itself is not high on anyone’s list of tourist destinations. But the Colonel Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum is a modest must. In addition to capturing a pivotal moment in the mass-marketing of American vernacular food, it evokes a dreamlike time, before the arrival of the Interstate System and its proliferation of fast-food restaurants and chain hotels, when traveling the American highway was a thrilling, high-risk proposition, with marvelous discoveries and ghastly disappointments waiting at every turn.

In its present form, the Sanders Cafe and Museum was born in 1990, the 100th anniversary of Colonel Sanders’s birth. JRN, a Tennessee-based company that operates nearly 200 KFC franchises in the Southeast, was about to open a modern KFC restaurant next to the old cafe. To mark the great birthday, it put out a call for artifacts and memorabilia that would allow it to celebrate the Colonel, his cafe and his fried chicken.

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