After 45 years and 5 million chicken dinners, White Fence Farm will finally turn off the fryers at the end of service Sunday, December 30. One of the original eatertainment complexes, White Fence Farm has petting zoos and gift shops as well as family-style fried chicken dinners...and a good thing, too, because would-be diners have waited hours this month to have one last meal at the place.
The restaurant sits on a prime piece of property in Lakewood that was truly a farm back in 1973, when Charlie Wilson opened a Colorado version of a concept that got its start outside Chicago. (The White Fence Farm in Romeoville, Illinois, is still going strong.) New owners bought it four years ago; they blame the closure on increased costs and a tough labor market. They'll be auctioning off most of the contents January 25; new homes have already been arranged for the animals.
But at the end of today, White Fence Farm itself will fly the coop. And readers have plenty of thoughts about that: Says Billie:
So sad. Always enjoyed the meals and merchants' items.
Sad to see all these old establishments closing down but understandable, considering the increase in minimum wage, regulations, and taxes.
Hopefully another restaurant will open there...no more houses, apartments or stores.
It wasn't good. So many people hyped this thing up and it was just meh.
Will miss them corn fritters.
Our family waited four hours for a meal there in early December. I feel we are complete.
Nice place, but that was an awfully long drive and big price tag for KFC-quality fried chicken.
Talk about long drives — Jimmy concludes:
If you want real fried chicken, go to Stroud's North in Kansas City. It’s worth the nine-hour drive.
Keep reading for more on White Fence Farm:
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"What the Cluck? White Fence Farm Sells to New Owners"
“We have been operating at a net monthly loss for a considerable amount of time," says veteran restaurateur Craig Caldwell, who purchased White Fence Farm from Wilson in late 2014 with partner Tom Piercy. "Efforts to create a profitable operation were not successful, and we can no longer operate in this capacity.”
After the closure was announced in October, though, crowds flocked to White Fence Farm. If the place could have done that amount of business all year, Caldwell says, keeping the restaurant open might have been an option.
Instead, White Fence Farm won't see the start of 2019, adding to a list of longtime restaurants closing this year that includes Govnr's Park, Marlowe's, the Paramount Cafe and the Old Spaghetti Factory. What do you think of these closures? Post a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.