Talley’s, a mainstay on Main Street, to close

After operating Talley’s Restaurant for 32 years,  76-year-old Jerry Talley has decided to retire from the breakfast and lunch business and will close his eatery at 623 Main St. in August.

Jerry Talley and his staff at Talley’s Restaurant are trying to keep their spirits sunny-side up after the sad announcement the restaurant will close next month.

“When we run out of eggs and chicken fries, we’re going to close the door,” Talley said from a booth in the restaurant, which has become a downtown landmark over the past 32 years.

Talley said he was closing the business at 623 Main St. because of his own health, the aging equipment within the restaurant and the repairs needed to maintain the leased building.

“I just don’t want to put any more into it,” he said.

Longtime customers, such as Dana Black, were shocked and saddened by the sudden news.

“I think it’s terrible,” said Black, who has eaten lunch in the restaurant nearly every day since it opened in 1978.

“It’s sad, but we’re really trying to make this a celebration,” said Dyan Koepnik, commonly known as “Sarge,” who has waited tables at Talley’s for the past 26 years.

Koepnik said the people who frequented Talley’s felt like family.

“We’ve seen people born, grow up, go off to war, fall in love, get married, then bring their own kids here,” she said, adding it wasn’t uncommon to see three generations of Talley’s customers together at one table on a Sunday morning.

Koepnik wants all of Talley’s customers, even if they haven’t been in for a while, to at least come back for a cup of coffee over the next several weeks to say goodbye.

Talley’s hasn’t changed much over the years, and that’s something that comforted customers, Black said. There was always good food, good service and good company, he said.

Talley said he and his wife, Liz, originally opened the restaurant as Talley’s BAR-BQ and Biscuits.

“But people can’t eat barbecue every day, so we just stuck with breakfast,” he said.

Talley, while looking at the mural of Liz that hangs on the back wall, said it is going to be hard to close the business because there were so many memories made in the restaurant for him, too. The mural was painted by Lee Bowerman and was modeled after the logo on the bottle of Cholula sauce that sits on every table.

Over the years, Bowerman would return to add a little gray and a few lines to Liz’s face.

Liz, who passed away four years ago, would understand Talley’s need to close, he said.

“I’ve always said I’d leave here in a box, but I think I’ll leave a year or two earlier than that,” he said with a laugh.

Talley said he is looking forward to retirement. He can’t wait to sip Kona coffee on a beach in Hawaii and watch the tide roll in and out, he said. He also is anxious to watch a few football games in person at his college alma mater, Texas A&M.

“There just comes a time when everyone has to go,” he said, “That’s the way my wife would have liked it.”


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