After seven months of renovations, the iconic Ferrell’s Snappy Service reopened at 5 this morning at 1001 S. Main St., in downtown Hopkinsville.
Ferrell’s has been in business since 1936, but closed last summer after sustaining significant smoke and fire damage on July 4.
Second-generation owner Phillip Ferrell, the son of restaurant founders the late David S. and Cecil Ferrell, said Thursday afternoon that the fire was devastating for his family.
“It was a shocker,” said Ferrell, who had worked at the restaurant during and after high school. “I would have figured this store would have never burned because we didn’t have any french fries, but we did.”
Joe Nell Edwards, who has been working at Ferrell’s for a total of 30 years, said she remembers the day the building burned.
“It was a sad mistake. I hated it when it happened,” she said.
A second-shift employee, Edwards said she is excited to get back to work.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time,” she said. “I’ve made many a walk down here to see how they was doing.”
Ferrell said everything in the 578-square-foot building was replaced, except the original floors in the dining room.
“We did lay tile (on the floor) behind the counter,” he said. “We leveled up back here where the big cooler is.”
Bright green neon lights outline the ceiling and a clock hanging in the corner above the cooking area. The walls now have a mirrored finish, even behind the grill.
“It will be a little tough to clean behind the grill, but we’ll get it,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
Business will continue as it has for more than 80 years, Ferrell said.
“We will be open 24 hours every day except Sunday,” he said. “Everything’s the same (on the menu).”
Ferrell said he thought his parents would approve of the renovations.
“They would love it,” he said. “This place is beautiful.”
A chalkboard menu hanging on the wall lists items in brightly colored text, which is Ferrell’s wife Carolyn’s favorite new addition to the place.
“It’s just retro and colorful and happy,” she said.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday with the Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn thanked the community for its support during the renovations. After the fire, she said they applied for and received a 50-50 match grant.
“I will tell you that was the tipping point for us to remodel,” she said.
The restaurant has several returning employees and three new ones, in addition to Ferrell.
“We have a wonderful female team — Ferrell’s can operate with one male,” Carolyn said, as the crowd laughed. “Welcome back.”
Ferrell invited sweethearts to celebrate Valentine’s Day today at the restaurant.
“Don’t waste your money on chocolate candy, come down here and get her a good ol’ double cheeseburger,” he chuckled. “That way, we’ll all be happy.”
Burgers for Books
After the ribbon cutting, an aroma of seared beef patties filled the newly-renovated Ferrell’s as Ferrell manned the flat-top grill.
He cooked double cheeseburgers for the high bidders in the Burgers for Books fundraiser for the Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library.
“Double burgers, yeah,” shouted Hopkinsville Realtor Holly Hampton, one of the winning bidders seated on the neon green stool at the counter. “Can I have mine plain?”
The Burgers for Books Silent Auction kicked off last month, with patrons able to place bids to win the first burger cooked at the newly-renovated restaurant.
The auction total was $2,750. All proceeds will provide the seed money for the library’s patio renovations being led by the 2020 Hopkinsville-Christian County Leadership Class.
“I’m humbled,” said DeeAnna Sova, library executive director. “It makes me teary-eyed. I’m so appreciative of the community and Ferrell’s … that continue to give back.”
The high bid at closing Tuesday was $500 by Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble and Magistrate Darrell Gustafson.
“They couldn’t be here today so they’ve sent in their stunt eaters,” Sova said.
On Wednesday the library opened up bids to the community for the same VIP experience of eating a Ferrell’s burger.
“We had a core group … that kept those bids going,” she said.
In addition to Hampton, the winning communitywide bidders were Chuck Henderson, Cary Bruce, Jeremy Luciano, Jeremy Stevenson and Brandon Cox.
Hampton, Henderson and Luciano were the only official bidders present to eat their burgers. The rest designated someone else for the task.
“I grew up eating Ferrell’s — breakfast, lunch and dinner — and I’ve supported them as long as I’ve been able to and I will continue to,” Hampton said. “I hated to see the fire. We’re just excited to have them up and running again in Hopkinsville. I also wanted to support the library at the same time. To be able to do both was just a bonus.”
At the grill, Ferrell placed each beef patty smothered in American cheese onto the buns, garnished them with the traditional dill pickles and white onions and wrapped them in green and white checkered paper.
When each individual at the counter received their burger, a countdown signaled their cue to take the first bite.
“I love Ferrell’s,” said Amy Rogers, as she raised her arms in the air following her first taste.
A member of the Leadership class, Rogers sat in for winning bidder Stevenson.
“We’re very excited. This burger is amazing,” she said. “Ferrell’s is near and dear to my heart.”
After eating at Ferrell’s since he was in the fifth grade, Greg Pryor dressed in a tuxedo with a royal blue bow tie to eat one of the winning double cheeseburgers for bidder Bruce, who was unable to attend the festivities.
“It’s a very momentous occasion. It required dressing a little better. A tux from the back of my closet,” Pryor said. “The burger was delicious. Very good!”
Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or email@example.com.