Chimney Corner Cafe closes downtown doors

ashland chimney corner cafe has been a part of the downtown ashland scene for decades, though the carter avenue establishment has once again officially closed the kitchen and shuttered the doors until a new one is found tenant or another chef comes forward.

“I’ve been a customer there since they were on 16th Street until, well, forever. It somehow defined “restaurant” for me and my family. and they had the best bagels,” said stewart schneider.

Reading: Chimney corner cafe ashland ky

chef-owner paul runnels declined to discuss the situation, though friends and regulars report the decision to close was based on personal considerations and not financial hardship or lack of business.

attorney charlie holbrook iii said he has nearly a lifetime of fond memories of coffee.

“I remember my parents taking me there on 16th street when I was a little boy, and they had the wrought iron booths. It was always a good, healthy place to eat,” she said, adding that the wrought-iron seating was included in the decor when the cafe moved to the Carter Avenue location.

That place, he said, hosted daily meetings of the city’s most prominent businessmen.

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“When he moved to carter avenue, it was the place. my father (attorney charles holbrook jr.) and the realtors and cpas and others had a round table there and they solved all the problems of the city, state and country every day.”

Holbrook said she often took customers to the cafeteria when it was open for lunch, and later enjoyed taking her parents out for lunch. Ella Holbrook cited the baked steak and all the trimmings as a favorite “in the old place,” and enthusiastically reviewed the Wednesday night cheeseburger special on Carter Avenue.

Ashland economic development director Chris Pullem said he’s confident the cafe won’t be closed for long, citing immediate interest in the property and a visit Thursday from a potential new owner.

“There is a lot of interest in the restaurant, and we have someone who is very interested in reopening it,” Pullem said Thursday.

The city official said he, too, was a fan of the restaurant, appreciating the establishment’s local history.

“it was… the food was on another level than what you’d normally be used to in ashland. I think people appreciated that,” she said, adding that the cafe’s local ownership and intimate off-the-beaten-track setting gave chimney corner cafe a distinctive appeal. “it was a great place to meet friends and enjoy something to eat and drink without being in a big chain restaurant.”

Pullem said the cafe flourished in the days when AEP and Ashland Oil provided many of the best jobs in the city.

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“It was practically created to serve that clientele. It was inspired by a place in Charleston, S.C., called Magnolias,” he said, explaining that the original menu was even a reflection of the South Carolina establishment.

“It was the place to be back then, but at the time there weren’t too many places to be,” Pullem said, commenting on the number of successful restaurants now in business within the city limits of ashland.

“Our restaurant market is stronger than ever,” he said.

Pullem said anyone interested in the chimney corner cafe property can contact him at (606) 327-2005.

tim preston can be reached at

[email protected] or

(606) 326-2651.

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