Corbin's original Kentucky Fried Chicken 'Sanders Cafe & Museum' reopens after renovations

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 09:21:07-04

CORBIN, Ky. (LEX18) — It's a piece of Kentucky history that you can see and then taste. The original Kentucky Fried Chicken “Sanders Cafe & Museum”, in Corbin, has undergone some renovations and the family that owns the franchise is celebrating its reopening with the community.

Colonel Harland Sanders said, "My life is devoted to business and supporting my family." Today, the Neal family—who purchased and restored this building—is celebrating a new restoration of the "Sanders Cafe" after being closed since 2019.

Tyrone Neal, the President of JRN Inc. and co-owner of the Sanders Café, says, "Well we're very excited to have it back open and to have the original restaurant, the original KFC restaurant open to the public today."

This KFC looks in part like it did in the 1940s. In 1973 the Neal family purchased the then deteriorating building to preserve its history. Nearly 50 years later, the three brothers, Tyrone, Clay, and Brett—second-generation KFC franchisees—are celebrating a new addition that continues sharing the colonel's life and legacy. It’s a story of success that their parents wanted to live on.

Tyrone Neal says, "Our parents very much were historians and had a great deal of respect for the colonel's original place."

There is so much history in the museum and leaders hope that people that come here use all of their senses to enjoy it. Most of all they hope that they remember that colonel sanders truly did achieve the American dream.

Corbin’s Tourism and Convention Commission’s Executive Director, Maggy Monhollen, says, "It's something that is just so spectacular and will attract families and you know a variety of different people not just from the United States but from all over the world."

At the museum, you can learn about the "Sanders Court", see the original kitchen, fryers, and furnishings, and experience the spice room. Now, you can also enjoy memorabilia from over the years. The Neal family hopes people leave this museum inspired.

Tyrone Neal says, "That rags to riches story, that true story, his story is one of good will—and I guess that's why it’s important."