NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A line of customers wrapped around the corner Tuesday morning as the Hermitage House Smorgasbord opened its doors for the last time.  

“The food, the friendship, just the whole atmosphere is just wonderful,” reminisced Annette Goins, who was one of the first customers in line.  

“They really liked me as a person and they loved all their guests here, you know, everyone was special to these people. They treated us like we were part of their family,” longtime customer David Smith added.  

News 2 got a behind the scenes look at the kitchen that has cooked up some favorites for decades, like fried chicken, catfish, and mac and cheese.  

“My father was a chef in the U.S. Army, and he taught us everything we know about cooking,” part owner and youngest brother Tim Prosser explained.  

While the Prossers wouldn’t share any of their family recipes, brother Pete Prosser did shed light on the restaurant’s family motto.  

“It was never about the food. It wasn’t about the money. It was about the people; we love people, we’re people person, my mother especially. We never met a stranger,” Pete said.

Behind the restaurant’s front doors, friends turned into what felt like family over the years.

“There were times when people would come in, they would have some things that happened and they would sit down to share that with us and we’d listen. There were times that we’d have prayer with people,” Pete said.  

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When discussing Nashville’s growth, owners told News 2 they didn’t feel forced out in any way. The family is shutting its business’s doors with no hard feelings left behind.  

“To be a part of this community is a real blessing. Yeah. It changed our lives and we hope we changed the lives of people along the way,” Pete said. 

It’s unclear if the Hermitage House Smorgasbord might be back in some capacity in the future, however, the family plans to take a well-deserved break before they decide.