“My late husband, Wayne, and I opened the KFC in Pell City on July 31, 1973,” said Polly Warren. “We originally started in the adjacent parking lot to the current restaurant.”
The KFC in Pell City is on 23rd Street N. just off U.S. 231. It is owned by Polly Warren and her three sons, Michael, Jimmy and David. Nicole Warren, Michael’s wife, helps manage the restaurant.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary, the restaurant is having a customer appreciation special through Aug. 24, Nicole Warren said. The deal features an eight-piece chicken only at a special price.
Polly Warren said the original restaurant seated 20-30 people.
“We needed more space so we expanded and built a new restaurant while we were running the old restaurant,” she said. “We were only closed for one day when we moved into the new restaurant.”
She said the new restaurant seats 95 people.
“We also added the buffet in the new restaurant — that was probably the biggest change,” she said.
Nicole Warren said the Pell City KFC is one of the few restaurants that still offers an all-you-can-eat buffet.
“When we opened the store with the new buffet, many other KFCs opened buffets as well.
She said those other KFCs have since discontinued their buffets.
“The buffet makes it challenging, but it’s a very integral part of this KFC,” she said. “Customers still want the buffet with home-cooked vegetables and home cooking. We make our peach cobbler from scratch. We are also one of the last KFCs to make homemade chicken salad and potato salad.”
Nicole Warren said as the generations change, KFC remains a place for families to eat and spend time together.
“It’s not only the families but our employees, too,” she said. “Many employees started working here when they were in high school and stayed. Several of our main employees have been here for 15-18 years. And our former employees still come back to visit, even though they don’t work here anymore.”
Nicole Warren said it’s the customers and employees who have made the Pell City KFC such a success for 40 years.
“I think it’s because we are located in Pell City,” she said. “I’m not sure we would have been this successful in other cities.”
She said employees focus on friendliness and customer service.
“The buffet makes it challenging to spend time with every customer, but it’s a very integral part of this KFC,” she said.
Nicole Warren said the customers, employees and location all work together to offer good, home-cooked food.
“I want to thank our customers and employees for their loyalty,” Polly Warren said.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.