The Kitchen owners, customers reflect on 37 years in the community

For 37 years The Kitchen Restaurant staff and customers have been like family.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:40 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The sign at the front door says it all. A gathering place for friends and family. A place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love. For 37 years, to co-owner Terri Kent, The Kitchen Restaurant staff has been like family. The theme of family has been with the restaurant from the very beginning. For proof, just look at the name.

“We just decided on ‘The Kitchen’ because we felt like this place would be an extension of our family,” said Kent.

After nearly four decades in Monroe, multiple issues have preceded The Kitchen’s imminent closure. The COVID pandemic restrictions and supply delays have caused the restaurant to struggle. Pat Reed, the head cook, had health issues, and that prompted their decision to close on Jan. 28, 2022. Many customers feel this place is like home.

“It’s just like home. It’s sad. It’s just... that’s all I can say. It’s just sad,” said longtime customer Danny Daniel.

Leslie Lawson comes multiple times a week and says Kent is like a mother.

“Very close-knit family here because you have the same people that come in all the time,” said Lawson.

They have been adding to The Kitchen family for years. Owner Mary Traylor opened the restaurant with her husband in 1984. While he passed away seven years ago, she says it is his beliefs that kept customers returning.

“Well, my husband always says have good food, prices right, and treat people like family,” said Traylor.

Many memories hang on the wall. For some customers, they started on day one. The table with the reserved sign is known as John Baker’s table.

“Good friends, good restaurant,” said Baker. “We’ve enjoyed it. I’ll miss it.” He has been coming daily with his wife to share a lunch.

With what the place has grown into, Kent knows her dad would be proud.

“He would say, ‘Girls, y’all did a good job,’” said Kent.

There is still time to have a meal before they close to say goodbye to the place that made many feel like family.

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