It might be the pancakes, bacon and grits. Or the chicken and dumplings or chicken and dressing.
At Shockley’s, customers have long sworn by their favorites at the South Gloster Street restaurant, which has been slinging diner fare for nearly 60 years.
But after this weekend, barring a last-minute reprieve, Shockley’s will lock its doors for the final time. Customers have been caught off guard by the news.
A sign on the front door says it will close as of Sunday.
“Sorry for the inconvenience,” it reads. “Thanks to all our loyal customers. You will be missed. Thanks again. We gave it our best shot.”
Among those stunned by the news was Philip Bailey of Tupelo.
“I hate to see it go,” he said. “We’ve been coming here for 30 years or better. It’s the best bacon and grits anywhere. It’s all good, but that’s what keeps us coming back.”
Ruth Ecrement, who has run the restaurant the past two years, said a combination of factors led to the difficult decision of closing it for good.
“It’s a combination of everything,” she said. “Financially, the condition of the building, which is in bad shape – it was several things. But I originally took over to keep everybody working here.”
Ecrement had worked at the restaurant for nearly six years before taking over from Jane Kelly, who had taken over the restaurant in 2006 from longtime owner Anthony Bean. After the retirement of two long-time cooks, Bean was going to close Shockley’s then, but Kelly stepped in to keep it open. When Kelly was ready to step away from the restaurant, Ecrement took over.
But even with many loyal customers, Ecrement said it was no longer financially viable to keep the restaurant open. She leases the building, and was limited to what she could do to the place, which was opened by Bill Reedy in 1962.
“We worked on a few things, but there wasn’t a lot we could do,” she said.
Ecrement said there’s a chance that she could reopen the restaurant at another location. She’s been approached by several people, including real estate agents, who have offered to help find another location.
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