To many who never lived in Saline County, Ed and Kay’s dinner is easily overlooked. It sits on the southwest edge of the Benton, just to the right as I-30 is taking you away to likely a more enjoyable destination of Dallas or Hot Springs.
If you are from Saline County however, this place holds a lifetime of memories.
Ed and Kay’s is famous to outsiders for their pies, piled high with meringue. The classic country diner was originally called Ed and Alma’s, and dates back to longer than I can remember. Kay Diemer bought the location and renamed it Ed and Kay’s in 1982.
Aside the from the pie, Ed and Kay’s was never going to be a foodie destination. It had a decent breakfast and a modest lunch, dinner was always forgettable. The memories, along with likely a little duct tape, are what held the place together. You would be hard pressed to find someone who grew up in Saline County without a lasting memory of the location.
For me, I remember going to the location a lot growing up. My mother worked there as a waitress for a while when I was younger. I can remember going and waiting for her shift to end. I remember going and eating with family there on a number occasions. I remember the pies in the case, although I do not remember eating them much.
For others, they likely bring their own rich narrative to a place that has existed for so long.
Like a handful of other places, it seemed to escape time. Since I was born in 1983 I literally cannot remember a time without Ed and Kay’s, even if I rarely stopped in to eat. In fact the last time I ate there was in 2006 with then Bryant Mayor Paul Halley. It seems for me as well as other Saline County residents, the memories were often better than the present. It had been rumored for years that Kay was trying to sell the place with no one willing to buy.
So on this past Saturday Kay closed the doors at noon and set out the final “closed” sign on the restaurant. She decided it was time to retire, and leave us former Saline residents with memories of family, and everyone else with thoughts of her pie.