For the past 16 years, Flag Fork Herb Farm Garden and Café has held a special place in the hearts of Lexington women.
Mothers and daughters have lunched there; sisters and girlfriends celebrated birthdays there; and not a few engagements and babies were revealed there.
But owners Mike and Carrie Creech announced this week that they have sold the property to an undisclosed buyer who plans on keeping the historic house and gardens on North Broadway, and who will reopen a restaurant with a new menu.
"We're really happy the history will be saved," Carrie Creech said Wednesday.
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Since the news hit Flag Fork's Facebook fan page earlier this week, the café has been booked solid for double seatings of lunch through Saturday, the last day of business for the restaurant.
Leslie Rickerd of Lexington was so sad about the news that she stopped by and got two lunches to go: one for Wednesday and one for Thursday.
Rickerd said they used to bring her mother-in-law, Wanda Rickerd, who had Alzheimer's disease, to the café. She would always order the beer cheese sandwich. And even after Wanda went into a nursing home, the family would bring her Flag Fork beer cheese sandwiches.
"She really did love it," Rickerd said. "I'm going to miss that place. It's just one of those special places."
Creech said Flag Fork plans to continue selling its signature dips, beer cheese and burgoo seasoning mixes at Good Foods Market and Café on Southland Drive and other retail stores. The gift shop, which is selling everything including fixtures, will stay open until probably Sept. 3.
"This all happened so quickly," Creech said. "But it was in the back of our minds; we were ready for a change."
There are plans finally at work on a cookbook, and the Creeches want to reopen an antiques business, but they don't yet have a location.
"When we started Flag Fork Herb Farm, back in 1978, our chief focus was on antiques and art," the Creeches told customers in a message Monday. "We will now have a chance to go back to our roots, and to enjoy all the kinds of things that made Flag Fork Herb Farm such a fun experience for everyone — going out and finding great antiques, enjoying the ambiance of quaint little corners, and relaxing a little bit!"
The Creeches want to incorporate the history of their operation — which was a Franklin County farm in the late 1970s until they moved to downtown Lexington in the mid-'90s — into their cookbook and are looking for stories and photos, along with recipes developed using their mixes.
You can keep in touch with the Creeches and send submissions for their Flag Fork cookbook on their Facebook page. For more information, call the store at (859) 233-7381 or the café at (859) 252-6837.