Hall’s Cafeteria, which has been serving the working men of the meat packing plants and the social events of neighboring Catholic churches for some 60 years at 1301 Story Ave. is closing on Dec. 23.
Seven members of the Hall family run the cafeteria, a seven-day-a-week, three-meals-a-day business, and all are past the usual retirement age. The business was begun by the late family matriarch Helen Hall, who moved to Louisville from Springfield, Kentucky, bringing with her the country cooking style – country-fried steak, macaroni and cheese, roast beef and mashed potatoes, homemade pies – that satisfyingly sustained slaughterhouse workers, downtown attorneys, local politicians and suburban ladies out for a day of shopping since the 1950s.
Once a popular dining-out choice, cafeteria-style restaurants have faded from the public consciousness. Hall’s was one of the last surviving cafeterias, outliving the likes of competitors Blue Boar, Jay’s, the Colonnade and Miller’s Cafeteria, which started fading away in the 1980s.
According to a story in Insider Louisville, the business was still going strong, but it simply came time for the family to retire. Breakfast service started at 5:30 a.m., and doors closed at 8:30 p.m., after dinner patrons had gone home.
The Hall family plans to sell the property to the developer Andy Blieden, who owns Butchertown Market, and is redeveloping several properties along Main, Washington and Wenzel streets for his Butcherblock project.