Dec. 12, 2012 — In limbo.
Those are the words used by owner Juanita Flannery to describe the status of her famous Smokey Valley Truck Stop.
She says she is trying to sell the property so that she can retire. Several prospective buyers are looking at the restaurant but nothing definite has been decided.
As usual, the truck stop will be closed the week of Christmas but beyond then, she doesn't know.
"I'll be 70 years old in February and I've been doing this for 42 years,” Flannery said Tuesday. "I'm looking to retire but I'd also like to help a new owner during the adjustment period."
"I'd hate to see the place just sit empty and deteriorate."
Flannery acknowledges that the restaurant needs some improvements but she would prefer that a new owner make those investments.
"There are some upgrades that need to be done,” she said. “Of course, in this kind of business you know it’s going to be expensive."
The family-style restaurant is located at the junction of I-64 and KY 2, about two miles north of the Olive Hill city limits.
Featured several times since 2008 on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network, the restaurant is well known for homemade coconut cream pie, as promoted by Guy Fieri, host of the TV show.
Flannery said recently that new customers stop in each time the TV segment airs on the Food Network.
“We’ve had customers from all over the country who said they saw us on television and wanted to taste our food,” she added. “New ones show up every now and then and we give them the same welcome.”
Established by Ms. Flannery and her late husband, Benny, in 1978, the former truck stop removed its fuel pumps several years ago in favor of selling food only.