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HARPER, Kan. -- It's the type of place restaurant people would drive out of the way to visit. Now the owners of the Country Creamery in Harper say they are closing "due to many contributing factors that are beyond are control".
Jim Konkel and his family have owned restaurants in Harper and Kingman for 41 years. But when Konkel converted an old gas station into the Country Creamery in 1985 he really hit on something.
Konkel closed or sold his other restaurants but through the years people kept coming to the Country Creamery from as far away as Oklahoma and the Air Capital. "I mean they're in Wichita", said Konkel. "They could eat anywhere, but they always come here."
"I moved to Wichita about 18 years ago", said customer Wes Hostetler. "Come down on Wednesdays, my day off, get mom and we come over here and eat quite a bit." Hostetler's mother said, "We also see people we know. Of course we like the food."
When the announcement was made the restaurant would be closing, even former competitors had to come by for one more bite.
"No we've known Jim for a long time", said Joan Wholschlegel. "We were in competition with him. We had a Myer's Cafe uptown."
There have been hundreds of well wishers on social media, phone calls and personal visits for the Konkel family and a restaurant that, until now, has withstood the test of time.
The restaurant's last day will be Sunday, Father's Day. It will be open from 11 am until 2 pm. Then the doors of a Harper institution will close for the last time.