Unless you're from the Temple area, the question "Old Jody's or New Jody's?" probably doesn't mean a thing to you. To those of us who grew up around here, it was a crucial question to wrestle with when making plans to dine out with the family.

I'm 34, and as far back as I can remember there have been two Jody's. When I was little, my mom and her friends preferred Jody's Family Restaurant, AKA "New Jody's", which has always been right across the street from "Old Jody's". So, you can guess which one I spent the most time making memories in growing up.

Well, now I'm sad to report that Jody's Family Restaurant has closed its doors for good.

A member of Facebook group Temple, TX - City Watch submitted a post about the news Thursday. A family member of owner Doug Franks responded to the post, letting the community know that Franks recently lost his daughter and mother, and was recently hospitalized with COVID-19.

I didn't want to believe it when a coworker showed me the post, but it's true.

The Killeen Daily Herald featured a story Friday evening on the closure, which includes a brief history of the two Jody's.

To clarify, Old Jody's restaurant will not be closing.

I almost feel numb writing this article. Jody's Family Restaurant has just always been a part of my life, and I feel now like I took it for granted. I can't tell you how many times I had my usual: fried mushrooms and a Jody's Burger with cheese. Mom always had to have her catfish filet, though we'd split a chicken fried steak once in a while.

As much as I'll miss the food, I'll really miss the staff. Everyone was always so kind to us, and we never had bad service.

In recent years, I noticed that the kitchen staff always listened to one of our cluster's stations, KRock 1017. Shortly before this godawful pandemic hit, I had lunch there with mom and took a few KRock shirts to leave for the kitchen crew. It was just nice knowing we were a part of their day.

It's always sad to see beloved local businesses close, but this one is hitting me hard. I don't think I've been this upset about a restaurant closing since Doyle Phillips Steak House shut down back in 2005. A piece of Temple's heart died this week.

I don't know if Doug Franks will read this article, but sir, if you do, I just want to express my sincerest condolences and thank you and your staff for the countless happy memories I will always associate with New Jody's.

Temple will never feel the same without you.


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