'This is a part of me' Customers devastated as Halfway Market closes its doors

Posted at 1:15 PM, Jun 19, 2019

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — An iconic restaurant near Franklin is closing after more than a decade in operation.

You can smell the Halfway Market's southern cookin' a mile away.

Daniel White said, "We always eat entirely too much, we love it too much, I mean we travel all over the world and have had food all over the world, and never had a burger like this one."

The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a staple in the Southhall community. The owners were given 30 days to get out. Their lease was not renewed according to owner Kellye King.

King said, "We have a lot of elders and they'll have nowhere to go."

With open arms, King welcomed a group of elderly folks who eat breakfast and lunch at her restaurant every single day.

William 'Bill' Cherry said, "I think what really makes this place special is the people who work here, they care about everybody. Excuse me, I'm a little bit emotional about that, but I'm very fond of them, and I think they really make this place."

For Mr. Bill, this is the only restaurant within 5 miles of his home.

Cherry said, "I'm really disappointed for the older people who don't have a place to go."

Another regular, Jimmy Gentry, is known for sitting in the restaurant and sketching people on his notepad. He's a community celebrity and World War II veteran who raves about the food.

Gentry said, "A fried bologna sandwich, and then if I really want to celebrate, I'll get a plain ole' cheeseburger, and a boiled egg."

He's sad they're being forced to close their doors.

Gentry said, "This is a part of me."

For the owners of the Halfway Market, they're not sure if they'll be able to find a new location, but customers are holding out hope. Customers have set up a Go Fund Me to help the owners and employees with "any expenses that occur while they transition and find new work and also to help them with seed funding to get a new location so that we can all continue to enjoy their wonderful food, company, and atmosphere."

The Halfway Market is having a final fish fry on Friday evening.

Alexandra Koehn is working on this story today and will have more reaction from the community on NewsChannel 5 at 6.