Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mile High Goodbye for Ed and Kay's in Benton.

It’s been a sad week for history here in Arkansas. First, a push to restore Hot Springs’ Majestic Hotel followed by its tragic burning… and then an end to the famed Mile High Pies.

Ed and Kay’s Restaurant’s doors closed for the final time today.

The restaurant has been a mainstay for generations of Benton residents. Originally Ed and Alma’s, the name changed to Ed and Kay’s in 1982 when the Diemers took on the operation of the place. It quickly earned a reputation as a stand-up place for dining, with great big breakfasts and good standard lunches and oh, those Mile High Pies.

I’ve talked about Ed and Kay’s over and over again through the years… and I’ve bragged on it to many. That’s part of the reason why, when I was contacted earlier today by a fan who went there and was told the restaurant was “closed forever,” that I had to get up and head straight to Benton. I could not conjure a coherent idea that the place was closed.

But indeed it was… the “for sale” signs already up when I drove into the parking lot. One of the regulars who was leaving told me where to find Kay Diemer – inside. Hunter and I waited for permission before we were allowed to head through the kitchens and into the dining room.

We overheard conversation between a firefighter and Kay… turns out, Kay had already made the decision that this would be the final day of operations, and she had closed the doors at noon. But at 1:30 she smelled something funny, and on investigation she found a small fire which she put out with a fire extinguisher.

I saw the kitchen and the dining rooms. Everything was fine. The small fire had been off the kitchen area, overhead in that small space between the dropped ceiling and the roof.

It doesn’t matter. I talked with Kay for a moment after that. After 32 years, it’s just time to be done. Family members aren’t interested in continuing the restaurant, good help is hard to find and frankly, as Kay told me, it wasn’t making money like it used to. Closing a landmark is never an easy decision, but she feels it’s the right one.

Could Ed and Kay’s come back? I wonder if someone had that thought about Ed and Alma’s back in 1982. Things change. What’s available right now is a turnkey operation for a young restaurateur who’d like to capitalize on a prime piece of real estate. I don’t know how much is being asked (Kay was still getting combobulated after the day’s events) but the number to call is (501) 672-6585. This could be your lucky day.

But for the rest of us, let us lament for just a moment those amazing pies.

Ed & Kay's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. When I moved to Missouri in 1986 I brought with me a Menu from that place. It had Onion Rings that no one could copy. Loved going there with my dad, George Ivie and eating. He enjoyed it so much.

  2. So sad to see this close. I grew up with Ed and Alma's then with Ed and Kay's. They've been there since I was a small girl. Good luck and God Bless in your retirement, decisions, and future endeavors.

  3. Oh yes, Ed & Kays will be missed, we loved those chocolate fudge pies... & yes the onion rings were goooood too... :) I remember it being Ed & Alma's too,cause, Alma was my sister's X-Mother in law, she was an awesome,sweet, hard working lady, as I'm sure Mrs. Kay was too, it's a tuff business to run, I hope someone will come in refurbish it & make another restaurant, or maybe how about a place with some live music & eats...???.... It's a GREAT LOCATION!!! :) BEST OF LUCK TO WHOEVER GOES THERE. :)

  4. Not the least bit surprised And they should have closed the doors several years ago. The reason they were not making good money, was because their prices were way to high and the service was horrible. Not going to miss that place.

  5. Ed and Alma's was a block from my home as a kid. Mom n I had moved into 'town' and I was a bit shy. That place became a safe refuge for this nerdy kid. Never forget the open face roast beef sandwiches. The latest incarnation was nice enough , but I will always remember the original.

  6. Kat, did you ask her about her pie recipes? Would be a shame if this means they'll be gone forever.


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