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KFC's Historic Sanders Cafe & Museum in Corbin getting extreme makeover

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 16:40:19-05

CORBIN, Ky. (LEX 18) — KFC is giving the Historic Sanders Cafe & Museum in Corbin an extreme makeover.

The construction will begin this week and will expand the restaurant and museum. The goal, according to a press release, is to transform the guest experience for all visitors.

Despite the construction being scheduled to take nine months, the restaurant plans to remain open.

Sanders Cafe, which is located on 688 Highway 25 in Corbin, is the birthplace of KFC's Original Recipe. This location is where the founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, created his recipe more than 75 years ago.

The cafe was originally created as a gas station along U.S. Route 25 in 1937. This location eventually expanded and added a motel and cafe.

KFC franchisees Linda and John R. Neal bought the Corbin KFC in 1973 and made it the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum on Sept. 9, 1990, which would have been Colonel Sanders 100th birthday.

"We grew up in the KFC business and to be the caretaker of the place where it all began is truly special," said President Tyrone Neal of JRN. "We welcome thousands of visitors from all over the world to Corbin each year to see the birthplace of the Secret Recipe, and we want them to have a KFC experience like none other. That's what this renovation is all about."

Renovation plans consist of a 3,000 square foot addition, which will include a dining area that will offer an extra 132 seats.

Other elements of the interior renovation are:

  • Harland's Herb and Spice room that celebrates Colonel Sanders signature World Famous Original Recipe Chicken and secret blend of 11 herbs and spices
  • KFC timeline that will show the legacy of Colonel Sanders in an expanded museum space
  • Model of Sanders Cafe's original kitchen and a hotel room
  • A retail area where guests can purchase souvenirs

The cafe was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, which is also the last year that the cafe was renovated.