Springfield had a restaurant in the ground floor of the then new white block, two-story Masonic Lodge Building on Laurel Street that operated for a short while in 1960. The building is still a lodge for the masons and is located adjacent to Hey Beautiful Salon.
The restaurant was operated by my grandmother, Annie Mae Exley, and Aunt Rebecca Wilson. It was named “Kopy’s Kitchen.” “Kopy” was the name I called my grandmother as I began to talk. Most of her grandchildren, preachers and people in the church and community knew her as “Kopy.”
The restaurant opened on a Sunday and that day was a humdinger. People were lined up all the way down the street. Everyone there had to scramble to find food to cook to be able to feed all the people who showed up. My grandmother was always known as a good cook and her reputation drew quite a crowd. Everyone in the family pitched in and worked up quite a sweat on that day.
There were tables and along the right wall of the eating area there was a formica topped bar with stools for service there, too. Teenager (at the time and now the late) Mary Louise Weitman (Shuman) was one of the waitresses hired to serve the customers (see photo). She was always pleasant and offered service with her pretty smile. There were others who worked there also.
The customers such as Dr. and Mrs. Grady Flythe and Mr. and Mrs. Murray Kight loved to come in the evening for supper. There was always a big pot of grits cooking and folks would order steak, fried chicken or fish to enjoy with grits.
Monteen Burns (Crawford) and Voncile Kight gave a bridal luncheon at the restaurant prior to Dollie Brinson’s wedding to Charlie Fulghum in October of 1960. (See photo.)
Many hamburgers and blue plate meat and vegetable meals were served from the stove at Kopy’s Kitchen. The evening was usually short orders. Daily work was stressful to the ladies.
Success did not last long as Kopy and Aunt Becca were not able to attend church and serve the Sunday meal so they closed after a brief stint in the restaurant business and got their priorities straight. They really did like being in church better than serving the public every day of the week. It was quite an adventure for them and the family while it lasted.
Rebecca then worked for Harris Rahn across the street in his feed and seed business and Kopy went home to cook for family and friends.
The same site came to be operated by Alan Ingram after Kopy’s Kitchen closed. Kay Fulcher (Barrs) recalls working there for him. He had a television in the dining room that drew people to his business. None of the restaurant operators in that location lasted very long but Springfield was glad to have a café open there even if only for a short while.
This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.