Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
Columbia landmark Circle R Restaurant has new owners
Photo of new owners accompanies this story. Last updated May 26, 2006
By Ed Waggener
The Circle R, Columbia's landmark nearly 60-year old family restaurant, has new owners.
Eva and David Rigney took over management of the restaurant at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2006, in a meeting with the employees of the restaurant and the seller, Jeff Willis.
All of the restaurant's non-management employees were asked to remain, but Mr. and Mrs. Rigney will initially manage the restaurant themselves.
Ownership of the Circle R is an honor
"We're honored and privileged to own it," Eva Rigney said.
"People who have eaten here for decades feel an ownership in the Circle R," she added. She'll respect the sentiment, she said, adding, "You just can't mess with the tradition too much."
The changes which will be made at a deliberate pace she said, with many changes being retro: "We're going to do as much as we can to return to the original menu which made the Circle R the institution it is," Mrs. Rigney said.
The Rigneys do plan to remodel, possibly adding a meeting room, and they want to renovate and modernize the curb service, with a speaker system ordering service.
Trying to get history, maintain tradition
"We know that it was started in 1947, and that next year will be the 60th anniversary. If we can find out the exact day, we'll want to celebrate it."
The Circle R was built as the Hilltop Cafe by Jessee Keith in 1947, she remembers. In the 1950s, the Keiths sold the Hilltop Cafe to Ivan McKinney of Sparksville. Mr. McKinney moved into the house next door, and he and his family ran the Hilltop for about one year, then sold it to Rev. Pickett. A drive-in canopy was added in the 1950s, when Ruel and Runie Wooten bought the business, completely remodelled it, and changed the name to the Circle R Drive-In Restaurant.
J.D. Harper built business into the landmark is has remained
The Wootens sold the business to J.D. Harper, who made the business famous for country ham breakfasts and dinners, the world's best fried chicken breast, and well-seasoned vegetables people drove for miles to get.
Mr. Harper sold the business to the Charles Marshall family. The Marshalls were followed by Gary Mann. The latest ownership was that of Jeff Willis.
The formal owner of the Circle R is Fortune ST, Inc., Columbia, KY, which is now primarily in the food business. The corporation also operates Dairy Queen Restaurants in Columbia, Edmonton, and Princeton, KY.The restaurant is located at 712 Russell Road, KY 80, Columbia, KY 42728. The phone number is 270-384-3212.
Anyone with stories, pictures, or information about former employees of the the Circle R are asked to send them to ColumbiaMagazine through Submit a Story or by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct comments are not available. However comments, subject to editing, are welcome by sending to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. or through Submit a Story.
This story was posted on 2006-03-23 08:18:04
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.