Jerry's in Okolona officially closes Monday morning after nearly - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jerry's in Okolona officially closes Monday morning after nearly 60 years in business

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When it opened, Elvis Presley was on the radio and Marilyn Monroe was on the big screen. As the sign says, it's the last weekend for Jerry's Restaurant in Okolona, after nearly 60 years in business.

"People raise their families here," said Cary Henry, the Jerry's manager. "They've met here. They would keep church functions here. They got the memories, but they're losing a part of their self I think."

Charlene Howard has been coming to Jerry's at least a few times a week. They know exactly how she likes her food cooked. She says, "They got the best biscuits and gravy you ever ate."

Also known for its J-Boy burgers, the news that Jerry's restaurant is closing is hard for customers to swallow. Manager Cary Henry says the owner wasn't selling the business, but he got an offer he couldn't refuse. He says it will be torn down to become a car wash. Henry has basically been there all his life, saying the restaurant opened in the late '50s.

"This was my first job," Henry said. "My Dad told me, 'If you want a car,' he said, 'now get yourself a job,' and a week later, he gave me a car, so it really worked out."

At the tables, everyone has a story about what makes this place special. It's more than just the food and atmosphere -- it's where you'll find Marilyn Monroe at the door and Elvis memorabilia.

Henry says this about an Elvis statue: "They come in they just want to rub on his hands and his head. It's amazing. They identify with him. They identify with Marilyn."

Ron Justice has been a customer for 40 years.

"Back when we were younger, we'd go out dancing, and we'd come here way in the middle of the night for breakfast," Justice said. "We'd have some good times."

Howard often makes pillowcases with different cartoon characters to give to children at the restaurant. It's her hobby to sew. It's a sense of community inside Jerry's walls. Ellen Holsclaw was with 3-year-old Hadley Vincent who received one of Howard's Strawberry Shortcake pillowcases.

"I think it's so sweet and she reminds me of my grandmother," Holsclaw said. "That's exactly something my grandmother -- my grandmother used to quilt."

Howard says, "It just makes you feel good that they like them and they hug them like this."

Customers says they're losing more than just a restaurant, they're losing a family, although the owner is still keeping his locations on Dixie Highway and in Radcliff.

"There were some loose bricks outside and people wanted one of those," Henry said. "My Pepsi glasses are disappearing like crazy. I gave one of the girls a syrup pitcher. It's unreal."

Howard says, "There are plenty of restaurants around, but they won't be the same."

The restaurant officially closes on Monday at 7 a.m.

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