Posted: by Joe Lewis to the Grayson Times-Journal websiteon Wednesday, September 23, 2015
A healthy stream of customers can be found at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop just about any time of day recently. They are looking to get their last fill of country ham, freshly made cornbread, and a piece of the restaurant’s famous coconut cream pie. That’s because the restaurant’s owner, Juanita Flannery, recently announced she will be closing down at the end of the month. Serving homesytle food just off I-64 for more than three decades, the restaurant saw a renewed boom of notoriety several years ago when it was featured on Food Network’s wildly popular “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” starring Guy Fieri. “Nothing says country cookin’ like Juanita’s specialty,” Fieri said of her classic biscuits and gravy when he visited the restaurant in 2008. Fieri certainly isn’t the only celebrity to grace the walls of the Truck Stop over the years. Willie Nelson, the band Alabama and the famous Budweiser Clydesdales have all visited the restaurant at one point or another. The truck stop has never been about glitz and glamour, though. The restaurant’s large wooden tables, country-themed décor and laid back atmosphere are some of the most important things patrons have come to love about the place. But while the atmosphere is uniquely Kentuckian, the food has always been the star of the show—especially one dessert in particular. “The coconut cream pie is without a doubt the best pie I’ve ever had in my life,” said Ron Swartz. Since being featured on Food Network, the pie has far and away been the hottest item on the menu. For years, the restaurant has been the truck stop in name only, as the gas pumps have been long since removed. And it didn’t hurt the bottom line one bit. “For a place with no gas pumps, it’s seen a lot of business over the years from truckers,” said Rick Jimenez. As with all good things, however, the end eventually comes. Flannery has seen scores of customers at her tables throughout the truck stop’s life span. In looking back, her thoughts centered on two specific groups of people. She expressed deep appreciation to all the employees who have worked with her over the past 37 years. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They’re a wonderful bunch of hard workers that have been a pleasure to work with and make many memories with. I wish them all the best,” she said. But most of all, she expressed gratitude for all those with hungry appetites and a craving for home cooking who have continually patronized the restaurant and made it successful. “I want to thank everyone who has been a loyal customer throughout the years and those who have traveled from near and far to say their farewells and goodbyes,” said Flannery. Come early. Come quickly. There’s just about a week left for to get that one last fix of coconut cream pie. Come Sept. 30 at noon, the doors will close for good but so many memories made there will last forever.
Smokey Valley Truck Stop in the 1970's.
Submitted by: John W. Grace