Longtime Hickory restaurant closing after 75 years because of staff shortages

People from all over are coming down to say goodbye to friends they’ve had for decades.
After several decades of service to the Hickory community, the Snack Bar is closing down.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - A restaurant that’s been serving the Hickory community for three-quarters of a century will be closing its doors this weekend.

The Snack Bar has become an icon in the community serving thousands and bringing in customers from all over the Foothills for good food and good fellowship. Sadly, the reason for the closure is one that’s all-too-common in the closing era of the pandemic.

It’s something owners here have seen coming for a long time, but now that we’re just days away from closing, people from all over are coming down to say goodbye to friends they’ve had for decades.

“Leaving my friends, it’s going to be tough,” manager Glenda Young said.

It’s the kind of place where you wonder, how could they possibly be closing their doors? The restaurant is packed, it’s standing room only, and the kitchen is humming.

But after decades of serving the hungry in Hickory, it’s time to say goodbye.

“Somebody asked me one day, ‘when are you going to retire Glenda?’ I said when they board the place up,” Young said.

Unfortunately, that day is just about here.

“Sunday is going to be a very sad day,” Jane Isenhour, a customer of 60 years, said.

After 75 years, The Snack Bar will be shutting the doors. They did everything they could to stay afloat, but an old adversary, COVID-19, simply couldn’t be overcome. Since the pandemic began, the customer base dwindled, and there was no help to be found anywhere.

“At one time we had 55 people on the payroll, we have 27 on the payroll now.”

Libby Young is a second-generation owner of the Snack Bar. Her father started it in 1947. But with so few people behind the counter, she can only work so long, so many hours.

“I’m at the age where I need to retire, but don’t want to retire. But we have no choice,” Young said.

When the word got out this would be the last week the restaurant was open, people from all over the area flocked in.

“I’ve been coming here for over 50 years,” one customer said.

Even some serious long-timers.

“I am definitely gonna miss it,” Herman Williams said.

And a place customers tell me will be hard to replace.

“It’s always been a special place in Hickory,” Jean Smith, who has been coming for decades, said.

There is some frustration about not being able to pull out of the nosedive that the pandemic has put us in.

“I think that people need to go back to work,” Young told us.

But this is less about how we got here, and more about reflection and family.

“I cry a lot, but I am very proud at what my family has done,” the owner said.

What hurts even more is the day this place is closing. Sunday will be the last day, which also happens to be the anniversary of the founder’s birthday.

Related: Community says goodbye to local eatery that’s been in business for more than 40 years