One of the Chattanooga area's longest-operating restaurants is closing its doors. Friday night will be the final meal at Eidson Restaurant at 5308 Ringgold Road.
Evelyn Seagle, who took over the restaurant along with her brother, Jim, after their parents finally retired, said, "We had an offer to sale the property, and it was just time."
She said, "When my parents were running it, they had us to fall back on. But if something happened to us, there is no one to fall back on."
Mrs. Seagle has been busy this week consoling customers, some of whom have eaten there about every day for years and others who stop in at least once a week.
She said, "We've done it so long that it's bittersweet. We have mixed emotions.
"We have people who tell us they ate here as children and then their children and grandchildren ate here."
Mrs. Seagle said some tourists plan a stop at Eidson Restaurant on their trips from north to south. She said, "We have people who come up from Atlanta to eat with us. They tell us they wish they had something like us there."
Eidson Restaurant was founded by James and Mary Eidson in 1954 at the current location. There have been several additions as well as a major remodeling about 35 years ago.
The Eidsons operated the Central Cafe on Dodds Avenue across from the old Central High School from the late 1930s until Mr. Eidson went off to war.
After the war, he started The Donut Cafe in 1947 across the street from the present restaurant.
He bought an old house on the site in 1954 and opened the Eidson Restaurant after tearing down the house and constructing a new building.
The Eidsons, who both are still alive at ages 92 and 87, worked there until about 2004.
Mrs. Seagle said she worked there while in high school and college and has been at it "about all my life. But we've worn ourselves out."
The building was sold to a man who owns a business next door. Mrs. Seagle said he first talked of expanding that business, but she said he also has a catering firm and may operate it from the Eidson Restaurant building.