Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin

3.8
#18 of 73 in Museums in Kentucky
The Harland Sanders Café is a historic restaurant located in Corbin, Kentucky. Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, operated the restaurant from 1940 to 1956. Sanders also developed the famous KFC secret recipe at the café during the 1940s. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 7, 1990.HistoryAfter moving to Corbin in 1930, Sanders started a service station across the street from the present location of the Harland Sanders Café along U.S. Route 25. Sanders served meals for travelers in the back of the service station at his own dining table, which seated six people. By 1937, the culinary skills of Sanders became well known and he built the Sanders Café, which seated 142 people. Two years later, the restaurant was destroyed by fire.Shortly after the fire in 1939, construction began on the present Sanders Café, along with the addition of a motel. The restaurant-motel complex reopened on July 4, 1940. A new addition to the café was a model of a motel room located in the adjacent Sanders' Motel. This was used to persuade customers to spend the night at the motel.Business continued to boom as it was located along U.S. 25, the main north-south route through central Kentucky. This soon changed with the relocation of the U.S. Route 25 split into US 25E & US 25W from being in the literal middle of his properties, to a new US 25E roadbed a mile north, in order to allow better access to US 25E from the recently proposed Interstate 75. This resulted in US 25E bypassing the restaurant and city entirely for traffic going to and from the Carolinas and Georgia coasts, and Interstate 75 (when completed through the area in the early 1970s) doing the same for traffic heading towards Atlanta and Florida. Sanders sold the café in 1956 and began selling franchises for KFC. At some point after KFC franchising began, a franchised KFC was sited in the building, using the original kitchen, but converting the model motel room into larger restrooms. This KFC franchise remained in operation until 1988, when it was closed for the renovation into the current structure.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
364 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    Back in July we stopped at this location to eat. We'd seen the signs on the interstate and decided to make that our lunch stop. What an amazing place. Going in and seeing all the old cook ware, menus,...  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    The Colonel's original kitchen and restaurant. YOu order a the counter, just lik in the small red-and-white restaurants. We found the pieces less greasy, slightly larger. Whether you like KFC or not, ...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    This is a KFC with a small displays of the way it was when KFC started. I believe the Sanders Cafe was actually across the street. Anyway to review this as an attraction it is very interesting to see ...  more »
Google
  • May 17, 2017
    Dirty. Run down. Good was substandard. Overcooked "old" chicken that sat too long. Small pieces. Limited sides. Limited menu. Missing many standard items like baked beans, for one. The museum displays are cute. Best part is the Col Sanders statue on the park bench. Go take your picture with it then eat someplace else. Sadly disappointed.
  • July 7, 2017
    Not only is this a historic and nostalgic location, the customer service is impeccable. Ashley, the Asst. Mgr., was so welcoming and friendly. She even came to locate us in the restaurant to give us some of the delicious new Finger Lickin' Sauce.
  • June 23, 2017
    But they NEVER EVER have extra crispy on hand. NEVER!!! 12 min wait! Am I the only one who wants extra crispy? Really
  • May 15, 2017
    Who doesn't love some KFC? It is the standard fare, but with a small museum dedicated to Harland Sanders. They have some nice pieces of history. It was fascinating to see how he created his empire with great marketing and hard work.
  • June 24, 2017
    Well worth stopping to to see history of KFC. My only issue would be, there is no grilled chicken on menu. You have to ask for it. Would recommend.

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