Sanders Café, Corbin, Kentucky (Photo Credit: Flickr - sheffieldb)
Sanders Café, Corbin, Kentucky | Photo credit: Flickr - sheffieldb

Known for their “Finger-Lickin’ Good” food, you can visit the humble beginnings of Kentucky Fried Chicken at its original location. Inspired by Colonel Harland Sanders, the popular chicken restaurant has grown to be a global brand from this quaint roadside restaurant that still stands to tell the tale.

Colonel Harland Sanders took several career paths and operated many businesses during his life. One of the most famous of these endeavors was the creation of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Harland moved to Corbin from North Carolina in 1930. In Corbin, he operated a service station that offered fuel and even served meals at his personal dining room table. People would travel to Corbin to try Colonel Sanders famous dinners. Eventually his popularity grew to cause a need for a larger dining area.

In 1937, the Sanders Café was opened right across the street from the filling station. It provided service for almost 150 people. The café was a success but it burnt in a fire in 1939.

Sanders Café, Corbin, Kentucky (Photo Credit: Flickr - Joel Kramer)
The Colonel’s Office at Sanders Café, Corbin, Kentucky | Photo credit: Flickr – Joel Kramer

In no time at all, Colonel Sanders had a new plan. By 1940, the new restaurant was built and it still stands today. The famous chicken recipe was released as well. Over the years the restaurant grew in popularity, but when I-75 plowed through nearby, the little restaurant no longer had the traffic it previously did. In 1956, Colonel Sanders sold the restaurant and moved on to his next endeavor, building the KFC empire.

For nearly two decades Colonel Sanders operated the restaurant from this location. He even created the famous chicken recipe that is still used at KFC today.

Visitors can now explore the original café and artifacts from the Colonel’s kitchen. Plus, try a chicken dinner in the café as you would have over half a century ago!

Sanders Café and Museum is located at 688 U.S. Highway 25 W in Corbin. 

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