PINE BLUFF, Ark. — It’s the last day for a legacy restaurant on the outskirts of Pine Bluff.
The family-owned Lavender’s Barn has been serving Southern favorites and giving out hugs to customers for 45 years.
As Charlotte Lavender Hardin hugs her customers goodbye, the same word is repeated in every corner of Lavender’s Barn.
“Our customers have become our friends, family,” said Tracie Pharr.
“They treat you like family,” said customer Jim Varnell.
With family at the center, it’s good food and that personal touch that has kept customers like Mike Henley coming back for decades.
“TC, you know, he made desserts, so everybody knew what day he was gonna have desserts,” Henley said.
But now, TC and Charlotte are exchanging the ding of the register for the sound of the open road.
They plan on buying an RV and traveling.
“Much needed,’ said their daughter, Tracie. “Spend time together if they don’t kill one another.”
Jim Varnell drives 20 miles to eat here a couple times a week. He says he wishes the family well.
“Because they deserve it,” Varnell said. “Because they’ve worked hard and they’ve done it the right way.”
The secret sauce to their success is keeping it totally hands on.
“Clean the parking lot, take out the trash,” Pharr said. “We do all the work ourselves. We’ve always been here to help each other.”
It’s a bittersweet day.
“And it’ll probably more hit next week when we’re not here,” Pharr said.
Ending with gratitude.
“Thank you,” Henley said. “I appreciate everything.”
From one side of the window, to the other.
“God bless to each and every one of you and thank you for spending time with our family,” Pharr said.
As a way of saying thank you to their customers, Lavender’s Barn is hosting a retirement party tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.