USC Aiken head baseball coach Kenny Thomas said Coach T’s Diner will, hopefully, reopen somewhere, some day.
The restaurant closed on June 21 after three years in business.
It was “mostly timing” that led to the restaurant’s closure, Thomas said.
“Our lease was running out in the very near future, and we felt like we had done as much as we could in that building,” he said. “Ms. Judy (Thomas’ wife) had worked extremely hard to build the business for three years.”
Coach T’s Diner opened at 1552 Whiskey Road in 2011 and served Southern favorites, like fried green tomatoes, fried bologna sandwiches and key lime pie in a “Floyd’s Barber Shop” environment.
At lunch time, customers could watch Floyd, Andy, Barney and all the other Mayberry residents on Coach T’s four big-screen televisions.
The idea for Coach T’s Diner grew out of the success of Coach T’s Lunch Wagon, which the couple opened that same year out of a trailer on Dougherty Road.
“This was never about money for me. I wanted a place where people could go, enjoy, eat at a fairly reasonable price, have a good time and hang out,” Thomas said.
The Coach T’s Lunch Wagon is still operating and is parked at the Savannah River Site for lunch Monday through Thursday.
Thomas said many rumors have surfaced as to why Coach T’s Diner closed, mainly that it shut down because Thomas is leaving USCA for another school. That is not true, he said.
“I want to put that rumor to rest,” Thomas said. “I knew we had support and we were a popular place, but I can honestly say I didn’t know how popular Coach T’s was until we closed. We’ve received hundreds of phone calls and texts. Hopefully, we’re going to move and open up somewhere, some day. I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Coach T’s.”
Haley Hughes is the news editor for the Aiken Standard.
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