PRATTVILLE , Ala. (WSFA) - For more than 60 years, the doors at Jim’s Restaurant on Highway 31 in Prattville have swung open daily to feed everyone from the hungry politician looking for a handshake and a vote to the construction worker filling up before heading off to pour concrete.
It all came to an end Thursday with owner Phyllis Tampling welcoming in her regulars for the last time before a final closing. And they made the trip with vehicles lined up for a last meal.
“If we get ready to go somewhere to eat, there’s not really anywhere I want to go and have a meat and three and vegetables, a home cooked meal, there’s nowhere to go except Jim’s,” explained customer Yvette Hall.
To say Jim’s has been a part of Tampling’s life is an understatement. She’s been at it for 40 years.
The business started with her father, Jim, who fired up the kitchen in 1958. The loyal customers continued to fill their stomachs for decades before he and his wife retired and their daughter took over.
Phyllis admitted she had been thinking of closing or selling the business at the end of the year, but 2020 has created an environment that sped up the restaurant’s closure.
The owner said issues brought on by the coronavirus have left the employment pool small, and she’s been having difficulties filling positions like cooks and servers.
The final decision to close was abrupt, she said. It came on Wednesday when her longtime main cook came to her to let her know they couldn’t work anymore.
Faced with no longer having enough staff to keep the restaurant running, Tampling made the announcement on Facebook that Thursday would be the final day.
“It hurts to close it down because I’ve had such a loyal base of customers who are like family to me,” she explained, adding that she was very appreciative of those employees who stayed with her for so long.
The owner said she’s going to take some time off to rest. Her next chapter involves volunteer work in the community and a focus on her artistic side with some painting.