Harland Sanders Café and Museum

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Harland Sanders Café
Harland Sanders Café
Harland Sanders Café and Museum is located in Kentucky
Harland Sanders Café and Museum
Location 688 U.S. Route 25W, North Corbin, Kentucky
Coordinates 36°57′35″N 84°05′39″W / 36.95972°N 84.09417°W / 36.95972; -84.09417Coordinates: 36°57′35″N 84°05′39″W / 36.95972°N 84.09417°W / 36.95972; -84.09417
Built 1940
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 90001169[1]
Added to NRHP August 7, 1990

The Harland Sanders Café is a historic restaurant located in North Corbin, Kentucky. Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, operated the restaurant from 1940 to 1956. Sanders also developed the famous KFC secret recipe at the café during the 1940s.[2] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 7, 1990.[1]


After moving to North Corbin in 1930, Sanders started a service station across the street from the present location of the Harland Sanders Café along U.S. Route 25. Sanders served meals for travelers in the back of the service station at his own dining table, which seated six people.[3] By 1937, the culinary skills of Sanders became well known and he built the Sanders Café, which seated 142 people. Two years later, the restaurant was destroyed by fire.[4]

Tourists can dine in the modern KFC (left) and visit the café (right) which now serves as a museum.

Shortly after the fire in 1939, construction began on the present Sanders Café, along with the addition of a motel.[4] The restaurant-motel complex reopened on July 4, 1940. A new addition to the café was a model of a motel room located in the adjacent Sanders' Motel. This was used to persuade customers to spend the night at the motel.[5]

Business continued to boom as it was located along U.S. 25, the main north-south route through central Kentucky. This soon changed with the completion of Interstate 75, which bypassed the restaurant and city entirely. Sanders sold the café in 1956 and began selling franchises for KFC.[2]

The Harland Sanders Café was renovated and reopened in the fall of 1990 as a museum. A modern KFC was also built adjacent to the café. While at the museum, visitors can tour the office of Harland Sanders, see the kitchen where Sanders developed the KFC secret formula, and view KFC memorabilia.


  1. ^ a b National Register of Historic Places for Laurel County, Kentucky Retrieved on 2010-11-26
  2. ^ a b Cross, Paul., National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for Harland Sanders Café 30 April 1990. Retrieved on 2010-11-26
  3. ^ Harland Sanders Museum and Café Laurel County, Kentucky. Retrieved on 2010-11-27
  4. ^ a b Harland Sanders Café and Museum Retrieved on 2010-11-26
  5. ^ Butko, Brian and Sarah (2007). "Fun Food". Roadside attractions: cool cafés, souvenir stands, Route 66 relics, & other road trip fun. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0229-4.  Retrieved on 2010-11-26

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