If You Miss Jerry’s Restaurants, There’s Still One Open in Kentucky
Have you all seen this billboard? It's right as you come off the Twin Bridges in Henderson. It sits over on the right hand side across the street from the entrance of Audubon State Park. And, yes! You're reading it correctly. It's an old billboard for Jerry's Family Restaurant.
Those of you in Henderson know it well. As you drove down 41 from the Twin Bridges, it was over on the left hand side. If you lived in Owensboro, you likely knew ours well. It was right here on Frederica Street, just down from the radio station, right across from Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Both were open 24 hours and, consequently, I spent an incalculable amounts of nights in them- studying for tests, hanging out with friends, eating pancakes at 3 o'clock in the morning after going to Casino Aztar or watching drag queens at Someplace Else. LOL! They were many nights on the town that ended at a Jerry's!
Jerry's, by the way, was founded way back in the 1940s by Jerry Lederer, who was from Louisville. In the 1960s, following Jerry's death, the chain actually grew and, by the late 60s, there were nearly seventy restaurants spread across a variety of states, including Kentucky.
In May of 1990, however, the Jerry's chain was sold to Denny's. However, Denny's didn't immediately convert all the Jerry's locations over to its brand. As a matter of fact, I was at KWC from 89 to 91 and we ate at Jerry's constantly. The one in Henderson remained a Jerry's well into the late 90s and early 2000s.
According to Wikipedia, there are still a handful of Jerry's J-Boy Restaurants in Kentucky and southern Indiana. I haven't seen one in a long time and I saw recently that the final location in Louisville (the one on Dixie Highway) closed in February of last year.
However, there may be hope yet! After doing quite a bit of research for this story, I stumbled across Jerry's Family Restaurant in Paris, Kentucky. It' still open. And, if you read about A.B. and Maxine Pulliam, who opened the restaurant back in 1961, you'll see they franchised it through Jerrico Corporation, the owners of the original Jerry's Restaurant!
Who's ready for a road trip? I need some Jerry's in my life right about now. It's been way too long. And, if you're curious, Paris is in Bourbon Country, Kentucky is 196 miles from Owensboro.