Saying goodbye for now to Durham institution

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 03:25 PM

The Honey’s sign off Interstate 85 has been a beacon for decades, drawing travelers who needed a meal, Durham residents who wanted a filling and affordable meal, and college students who were in search of food in the wee hours of the morning.
It’s a throwback in a lot of ways, and that has been part of its comforting charm for its patrons. The restaurant, filled with vinyl booths and counter seats, has a no-frills menu of satisfying food like meatloaf, country-fried steak and breakfast all day long.
For 53 years, Honey’s doors have been open. There are familiar faces on the staff, who have been serving customers for so long that they know what frequent diners want before they make it to their seats.
It’s hard to see a business that has been a fixture for so long close up shop. The lights will be turned off Sunday at 3 p.m.
It’s painful for the staff who told The Herald-Sun’s Beth Velliquette that they have enjoyed working for Buck Dickerson, who has owned Honey’s for 33 years. They will lose their jobs, at least temporarily.
If there is good news to be found, it’s that Dickerson apparently is not giving up on the restaurant business. The space Honey’s now occupies is on land Dickerson doesn’t own. The company that owns it has other ideas for the site.
But Dickerson has hinted that he plans to move to a different location, and that he hopes to open another diner. He hasn’t revealed where, whether it also will be named Honey’s, or whether he will keep the same menu.
We hope he will be able to rehire his extremely loyal staff, who have made Honey’s homey for so many of his customers. In a business where there’s a lot of churn, it’s very telling that some of his staff has been with him for a decade or two. And we hope his longtime customers will find their way to the new location.
“I will miss my regulars,” Dickerson told Velliquette on Thursday as news of the impending closure. “There is no question, the saddest part of all this is losing the relationships I’ve built over 33 years with the community and the individual customers.”
We hope Dickerson does not lose the relationships, but just moves them down the road a bit once he finds a place to re-open.