Bulger's Beat: Owner of popular Camden restaurant retiring - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Owner of popular Camden restaurant retiring

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CAMDEN, TN (WSMV) -

Those looking for a quick, good bite to eat in Camden since the 1950s have headed to Nunnery's.

These days, customers are still heading there, but change is in the air. After 60 years of family ownership, the restaurant's owner is saying "so long."

Burgers, shakes and onion rings have filled stomachs and fulfilled souls at Nunnery's for decades, and they are certain to keep coming.

"Most of my childhood memories are from here," Nola Nunnery said.

Those memories, and many others, are pasted in black-and-white photos on the restaurant's walls.

"They say this is the important wall in Camden. When you've made this wall you've done something," Nunnery said.

One former employee, David Poehlein, worked at Nunnery's in 1957, when he made 80 cents an hour.

Back then, Judith Poehlein was 14 years old and a love-struck, Coke-ordering customer.

"I had to come and see him, I didn't care about the Coke," Judith Poehlein said.

The Poehleins, much to the credit of their Nunnery's courtship, have been married now for 51 years.

Stories like that surround this place. So, too, does sadness, when Nola Nunnery decided earlier this year to retire.

"It's going to be kind of bittersweet, but I've got plenty of plans to catch up on things I wasn't able to do," she said. "You hear people say, 'I'm not gonna flip burgers all my life,' and I can understand that. But I've flipped burgers all my life and have had as happy a life as anybody."

Free time is coming, which is a foreign concept for someone who opened her restaurant seven days a week.

But her place isn't closing. Co-worker Beth Smothers will be the new owner for one important reason.

"I don't want it to go nowhere. I want it to stay in Benton County," Smothers said.

So it will.

Nola Nunnery does not have any big retirement plans. The thing she said she looks forward to most, in her words, "now if I want to just stay home and have a housecoat day, I can."

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