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Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin

(3.7/5 based on 320+ reviews on the web)
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
  • Typical take out or eat in but great memorabilia and museum. Easy to reach off I75 - watch for sign at exit.  more »
  • Everyone should stop and see where it all began. The lunch fare is regular KFC, and there's no charge to look around at all the displays and memorabilia from the fascinating life of Harlan Sanders.  more »
  • A great piece of American history. To learn how a man started with nothing and turned it into something is just great.  more »
Google
  • The food is good. The staff is unfriendly. The wait is long. All the staff looks sad.
  • It's interesting to see the difference between the sit down restaurant's beginning and the fast food chain we know today.
  • Every time I go to this particular store. I get horrible service & several times my chicken has had blood on the bone.. meaning undercooked... the staff is always acting like they are on drugs or hates their jobs. .. & 3 out of 5 times my order is always wrong. Like how hard is it to fix a chicken lil with extra pickels. Or I was greenbeans instead of corn. I don't know I've contacted the store management several times ...he acts like he could care less... I believe that's the problem they need new management. .... The that crystal tag cashier. ... she acts like she knows what she's doing.. she always get my order right.. But most of the workers act like they are on cloud 420.... have have no clue how to do their jobs. You would think they would take a little more pride in a place that represents our community. People stop in from all over the world. TAKE PRIDE IN SOMETHING... this place makes me a shamed to be from Corbin. Home of the Chicken....
  • Where it all began. Nice restaurant, very friendly staff. The museum is really interesting, cool to see the history behind the food!
  • WOW!!!!!!!! What an experience to see where Colonel Harland Sanders was born and where he started KFC Restaurant. It's a Restaurant and a Museum all in one. History right here in good old Corbin Kentucky.