The Harland Sanders Cafe is a historic restaurant located in North Corbin, Kentucky.
Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, operated the restaurant from 1940-1956.
Sanders also developed the famous KFC secret recipe at the cafe during the 1940s. It was added
to the National Register of Historic Places on August 7, 1990.
After moving to North Corbin in 1930, Sanders started a service station across the street from the present location of the Harland Sanders Cafe 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 Cafe, 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 Cafe, along with the addition of a motel. The restaurant-motel complex reopened on July 4, 1940. A new addition to the cafe 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 completion of Interstate 75, which bypassed the restaurant and city entirely. Sanders sold the cafe in 1956 and began selling franchises for KFC.
The Harland Sanders Cafe was renovated and reopened in the fall of 1990 as a museum. A modern KFC was also built adjacent to the cafe. While at the museum, visitors can tour the office of Harland Sanders, see the kitchen where Sanders developed the KFC secret formula, and view KFC memorabilia. This museum was a fantastic find for us. We were out looking for antiques and flea market bargains. We had just finished "The World's Longest Yard Sale" starting in Gadsden, Alabama a few days earlier, and we saw a "antique store" sign on the interstate. The store was closed for some reason, but we had the fortune to drive by this museum on the way to the store. It all worked out great. It's all goooooood!
Open daily 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Colonel Sanders Cafe and Museum
688 U.S. Route 25W
North Corbin, Kentucky