Verna Kight is gearing down.
And with her goes the restaurant that has long been a mainstay on Texas 10.
Verna’s Cafe closed Friday, topping off a 38-year career for Kight, who proudly served up her last round of junkyard omelets, chicken-fried steaks, catfish and coconut cream pie, much to the sadness of her loyal patrons.
“It’s been an emotional, sentimental week,” Kight said. “A lot of people tried to twist my arm to stay open.”
She retired once before in 1991, for only nine months. She told the Star-Telegram that “you can only clean the house so much, and you can only watch so much TV.”
Kight said she started thinking about retirement for good about a year ago. She said deciding to close was one of the most difficult decisions of her life.
“I’ve done just about everything,” she said.
Verna and her restaurant have been a staple in Euless — with both the white- and blue-collar crowds — for almost four decades, the last 14 years in an old Dairy Queen she bought in 2000.
The bright, cheery diner, which was festooned with bouquets of flowers and balloons on Friday, buzzed with conversations and people reminiscing about their memories of Kight — and how she treated everyone like family.
“The entire city is heartbroken,” said Euless Mayor Linda Martin, who helped serve food and greeted friends who stopped by for a home-cooked meal.
Randy Swain, who lives in Granbury and is still a regular at Verna’s, recalled how he and his buddies started going to the cafe for lunch when they were seniors at Trinity High School.
“We came for double chicken-fried steak, no vegetables,” he said. “This is a bittersweet day for Euless.”
Tommy White stood outside the cafe and wondered where he would now go for lunch. His favorites were the fried catfish and meatloaf.
“I didn’t know it was shutting down,” White said. “I noticed the crowd and knew something was going on.”
Kight said she doesn’t know what she will do in her retirement, other than spend more time with her children and grandchildren.
“I’m healthy, and I don’t take any prescription drugs,” she said.
She is proud of what she accomplished at Verna’s, and the restaurant’s place in the growth of the area, which sits between Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to the north and Arlington to the south.
“We’ve built bridges, houses and highways here,” she said. “Contractors came in and spread out their blueprints.”
A sign posted on the door of Verna’s Cafe at closing time said it best:
“No fish, no pie. We’re done, bye-bye. Thank you for your support, we are now closed.”