KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The S&S Cafeteria on Kingston Pike in Knoxville closed on August 31 after being open for 47 years. However, leaders tell us there may be hope for the restaurant in the future.

S&S Cafeteria leaders explained that the Knoxville business has struggled the past four years because of both COVID and inflation.

“It’s been a tough four years for us with COVID and inflation and etc. It’s made it really rough for us and it’s tough to operate,” said Rick Pogue, CEO of S&S Cafeteria.

Loyal customers said they’re sad it’s closing. While WATE’s photographer was at the restaurant, there was a line out the door.

“Well our family has come to the restaurant here since I was a little child and I am 57 years old, so we’re coming one last time. Our family is pretty bummed, and the whole crew is bummed about the restaurant closing. We’re just going to eat one last time,” said Knoxville resident Micheal Lawson.

“It’s a very sad day. We’ve had a lot of great customers here in Knoxville. A lot of great coworkers, a lot of history in this building and with the people of Knoxville,” said Pogue.

S&S Cafeteria may not be gone forever. Pogue shared that it may come back at some point as a “smaller, more efficient operation.”

“The outcry that I’ve personally got from the customers in Knoxville has just been phenomenal. People are just so sad to see us leave as we are. So we know that we are loved here and at some point, we hope to come back,” said Pogue.

There are five other S&S Cafeteria locations. Three can be found in Georgia and the other two are located in South Carolina.