Mr. and Mrs. Hodge are very good people to work for. You couldn’t ask for better. This is a wonderful mom-and pop restaurant and has the same quality of food all the time.”
“I call ’em Daddy and Mama,” says waitress Thomas. “I been here 27 years, and I traveled in a whole lot of states with Mama and Daddy. The last trip we went to Alaska, and we’ve been on cruises and all over. I love my customers, and they love me, too. I think the world of my customers and treat them like they were in my home.”
“Most of all, we love Mama and Daddy. From day one they treated us like their daughters,” said Shutt, who started here two weeks after Thomas. “Our customers are awesome, like family, too. They just know our hearts. We have customers who ask for us by name to wait on ’em. This is just a pleasant place to work.”
The Hodge’s granddaughter, Wendy Lackey, new kid on the block, has only waitressed here but 10 years. “My heart’s desire is older people. We spoil our customers. We love on ’em. They are like family to us,” she says.
The Hodges take extra special care of their Sunset “family.”
“We close two weeks every summer: the end of June and week of the Fourth of July. The only way I can have any time with the kids is to close up,” said Bob.
“The first year we only closed for one week because I was afraid it’d hurt business. Didn’t happen. The first Monday back, business was the same. Same thing happened this summer. We also close two weeks for Christmas and three days at Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.”
On a recent day at lunch, Sunset customers ranged from babies to 104-year-old Baptist preacher Brother W.L. Baker.
“Brother Baker, he loves the coconut pie. I’ll have a piece waiting for him on his birthday,” said Jimmy, who, surprise, makes the pies here, a job he thought he’d never take on. “I always said that was something I’ll never learn. Because Dad has to have something to do.”
However, Jimmy has turned into quite the pie man as he now whips them up to the tune of 12 to 16 chocolate and coconut pies a day. Twice a week he bakes 20 buttermilk pies and thrice a week two dozen praline pies. Plus, he whips up two banana puddings a day.
“If we can get you in our door one time, we’ll get you back. Nothing but good down-home cooking and a home atmosphere. We serve 600 to 900 people a day, two meals a day. People’d be surprised at how much food comes out of this little-bitty place,” says Jimmy about Lebanon’s appetite-pleasing place to dine with family and friends.
Sunset Family Restaurant
Where: 640 S. Cumberland – Phone: 444-9530
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday; 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; closed Wednesday