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Landmark restaurant closing
Feb 23, 2007 12:00 am
Snow White Restaurant has been a fixture in Lebanon for more than 50 years. It began operation in either 1951 or '53 and holds the title as the oldest restaurant in Wilson County. On Feb. 28, owner Edie Oats will close the restaurant for the final time.
"I'm sure a restaurant will be in here. I'm just hoping it's still a Snow White," she added.
Oats became involved with the restaurant when she purchased it eight years ago as joint owner with her mother, Ann Birdwell. Seven years, she became sole owner. Since buying the facility, she has created many memories and met many people.
"People become like family," Oats said.
She recalled how she has come to recognize many of her customers and learned about their eating habits.
"You can pick up on things like if a customer is a diabetic," Oats said.
One customer in particular stood out in her mind.
"There was one customer who was a diabetic and he came in and wanted a big banana split," she said. "I said how about some sugar free butter pecan but he still wanted the banana split. So what I did was put three scoops of butter pecan in with a banana and some whipped cream. He told me it was the best banana split he'd ever had."
The restaurant has gained popularity across the country thanks to Lebanon natives who have moved elsewhere. Oats said she has shipped her barbecue to locations as far as Washington state.
"We've shipped to Seattle, places in Oregon, and all over," she noted.
The barbecue is frozen and can then be shipped anywhere.
Snow White is also known for its Saturday night "cruise-ins" where residents would gather at the restaurant for music and contests. Oats said these would be missed by a lot of patrons.
"One of the biggest things that will be missed is the cruise-ins," she said. "We always had a band playing and contests like hula hooping and bubble gum blowing."
Although she loves the restaurant, Oats said it is time to move on to the next phase in her life. She recently lost her father and has dealt with other losses as well.
"I've had so much sickness and death in my family," Oats said. "I'm a family person and I want to be with them."
She is also looking forward to spending some quality time with her new granddaughter.
"I am really excited about spending more time with her," Oats said.
She noted the reactions of her customers have been sad as well.
"People have actually cried when they found out we were closing," Oats said.
Oats noted she wanted the community to know how much their business means to her.
"I'd like to thank everyone for their business. We couldn't have made it without them," she added.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 44 or by e-mail at email@example.com.