Tears welled up in diners' eyes as Robert C. Byrd walked out the front door of Southern Kitchen for the final time Sunday morning. "Long live the memories of the Southern Kitchen," Byrd said after he and his entourage finished a lengthy breakfast and greeted people who were eating their final meal at the Kanawha City institution.
Byrd gave an impassioned speech before his meal at the restaurant, which has a sandwich named in his honor. "I'll never forget you," Byrd told the staff, some of whom have served him meals for decades. Most of the restaurant's chicken decor has been boxed up and put away because people were stealing them for keepsakes. The kitchen will close its doors forever tonight at 11 p.m.
-Dave Gustafson and James I. Davison