Tennessee Traveler: Kay's Ice Cream

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Years ago if if you wanted ice cream in the southeast you went to Kay's. There were 158 stores. But sadly, now there's only one left.

For decades you would recognize Kays with the familiar red sign and huge ice cream cone, it was a staple in East Tennessee.

"When I first came to this one, it was 70 percent ice cream, 30 percent food, now it;'s reversed," says owner James Brackett.

The converted Shell gas station on Chapman Highway in Knoxville became a Kay's in the 1960's. James Brackett came along to run it and keep the memories alive.

"As a kid, I would remember the horse and buggies coming down the road during the summer with the ice cream in them; in the winter, they'd do chili and tamales," said Brackett.

Those tamales are still there. So is the same ice cream case. Some traditions are worth keeping. You'll find the staples too, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish sandwiches and yes, ice cream, but time has changed some things.

It's like any other operation, they've been bought by a large corporation. Kay's as a franchise hasn't produced ice cream since 1989. But you can buy it at Food City.

Most of the time here you'll find people reliving memories.,

"Had one gentleman say, he like to have a wreck on Chapman Highway he seen the Kay's sign, said he did a u-turn, you don't do a u-turn on Chapman Highway," said Brackett.

A lasting memory that will always be a soft spot in our hearts. Driving in your neighborhood, I'm the Tennessee Traveler.


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