Joel Ray’s Restaurant celebrates 54th year

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Joel Ray’s Restaurant in Hodgenville celebrates its 54th anniversary this weekend.

Joel Ray Sprowls bought the restaurant June 6, 1959, and for 14 years it operated on a 24-hour, seven days a week schedule. Several Grand Ole Opry superstars have dined there, including Faron Young, Tammy Wynette, Bill Monroe, Englebert Humperdink and the Johnny Cash Band.

An early morning fire destroyed the restaurant on April 9, 1994, during the “Homecoming Show” at the Jamboree. The restaurant lost lots of collectibles. One year later in 1995 the restaurant moved to the Jamboree, adding two dining rooms. While the Jamboree was being remodeled for the restaurant, it operated on a limited menu.

At its peak, the restaurant employed 32 people.

The Jamboree’s Saturday night show will feature Camille Bingham, Allen Hilbert, Edmonton Quartet, Blake Whitlock and Joel Ray and the Lincoln Jamboree Gang.