Community says farewell to Alexandria restaurant gem

ALEXANDRIA, Ky. -- A local dining gem will close its doors Saturday after 55 years of serving hot coffee and fried goetta in Northern Kentucky.

Spare Time Grill regulars are preparing their final goodbyes.

They pack the diner around lunchtime, and Michelle Willoughby is among the local patrons.

"This is what Alexandria is about, she said. "It breaks my heart, it really does."

Willoughby was born and raised in Alexandria. Her memories of eating at Spare Time Grill drew her back to Alexandria from Washington, D.C. just in time to make one last visit.

"It's just a shame that it's closing," Willoughby said. "You can't find anything like this anywhere."

Three generations of Alfords have owned Spare Time during its decades of business, but it's the servers who have fed, hugged and encouraged the close-knit community.

"This is more like a family place, it's a family restaurant," server Shirley Witte said. "We get the people on Sundays after church, groups of people come in, and people going to work everyday, and you get to know people on a personal level."

But why is Spare Time Closing?

As Alford put it, it's just time.

"It's been hectic," Witte said. "All of our customers are coming in over the past few weeks, they're all trying to get their last bit of Spare Time."

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