A local iconic eatery is closed, for now, as family members take care of those who started it all in 1961.
Bass’s Kwik Burger does not have a sign with its name on the outside of the building. It doesn’t need a sign.
Everyone knows where it is.
And everyone notices when it’s closed.
On Monday, the doors did not open at the normal hour with no explanation. A post on Facebook by the Press Gazette brought out people from all over the community to discuss possible reasons. But it was the posts from the Bass family that brought the answers to light.
Kenny Bass, son of Kenneth and Nancy Bass, said it is the health of his parents that lead to the closing of the popular restaurant.
“All I can say...my parents health, it is failing them and at 89 and 90 we are truly blessed to still have them with us. If the Lord is willing we might possibly reopen, ok?” Bass wrote.
Bass said his father is recovering from a stroke that happened several months ago and his mother is plagued with “on-going dementia” he believes is a result of radiation she was given to fight several bouts of leukemia.
“We are focused on caring for them right now. They focused on us all these years, now it’s our turn,” he notes.
It was common for his parents to get up at 6 a.m. to go to work at the restaurant and not get home until 10:30 p.m.
“They’ve worked all their lives,” he said.
Well-wishers offer words of support and prayer to Kenny Bass and other family members posting on the Facebook feed.
“I have known Mr. Bass and Mrs. Nancy all my life and am blessed to have had the opportunity to have enjoyed many meals at the restaurant as well as the privilege of knowing this wonderful couple that gave so much of themselves for our community,” Vanassa Pitman said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them as well as their children and grandchildren.
“Yes, we also pray that if it is God’s will that the restaurant can reopen and the legacy continue.”
Since 1961, customers of the restaurant with “CAFE” painted on the window literally have lined up for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
“It’s home cooking like mama use to cook,” Nancy Bass said previously about her restaurant, which ¬featured daily specials such as meatloaf, baked chicken and dressing just to name a few. Fried chicken was a special every day.
“We started out selling 15-cent hamburgers and breakfast, then the customers wanted us to start doing lunches and dinners.”
Local will tell you Bass’s has been more than just the corner cafe, it could be considered an institution to those who grew up in around Milton and the northern part of Santa Rosa County.
“There is no other place like it,” said Mike Gibson, who has been coming to Bass’s since he was a child. “The food is the same as always. You know when you come here you are going to get a real good home cooked meal.”
“This is just a great part of our community and the atmosphere is awesome,” Gibson said.
“There is a reason God has kept my parents here. They are the glue that holds our family together. You always know which one in a family is the glue. Dad beat cancer three times. Now Mom’s mind is deteriorating and she’s getting old.”
Bass said it has not been decided if the restaurant will reopen. “If it were up to them, it would be open now.”