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Court Cafe bids farewell
After more than 30 years serving lunch and dinner in Dixie Lee Junction, Court Cafe closes its doors.

Court Café closed its doors Saturday, Sept. 27, after more than 30 years in Dixie Lee Junction.

The Café was founded by Cecil and Jennie Byrd, who also owned Marion Court motel and Byrd’s Drive-in in the Junction.

The restaurant has been used in Hank Williams’ film biography and another “film about racecars,” Jennie said.

“We used to be a big, boomin’ place, and I mean a boomin’ place,” said Margaret Byrd, Jennie’s daughter-in-law.

“But our dinners have been slow here since the economy has got so bad,” she added.

Over the years, the Byrds parceled the properties and sold them to developers. Court Café was the last to go.

According to Margaret, the site of the motel was sold years ago to First National Bank.

“Before this, where Little Joe’s Pizza is at, Cecil and Jen used to own [a] drive-in,” Margaret said.

The drive-in also was later sold to a developer.

“It’s not just closing the restaurant. People kept wanting to buy, and the restaurant: it’s old, it’s needing some work,” Margaret said about the Byrds’ decision to sell the Café.

Her husband, David, said the restaurant was built in the 1920s. His father bought it

in 1974.

“We’ve been here 34 years, and of course, it was here before my dad bought it,” David said.

“I don’t even know how old the building is; it was built in 1920-something,” he added.

Working at the Café had always been a family affair. David’s brother, Robert, also worked at the restaurant before moving to teach at The University of Tennessee Martin.

The decision to close was not an easy one.

“We’ve been here since 1974 and I felt it was time to close,” Jennie Byrd said.

“It’s hard to leave; I just felt it was time to go,” she added.

“My mother-in-law [Jennie] … she would like to have a little time to go and do as she wants,” Margaret said.

“And it’s just me and her and our employees.

“It was a deal … it’s been in the workings now for about a year,” Margaret said.

“It’s sad. A lot of our old-timers have passed away.

“But we still have people coming through that have moved away and they still stop in here, just to see and to eat,” she added.

“We’re really going to miss our customers, and we have appreciated them all these years,” she added.

“If it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t have went all this long.”


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