The space adjacent to the Empress Theatre in downtown Owensboro has a long storied history. It was back in 1921 that Mike Callas built what would become Barney's Callas Grill in the 1960s. Prior to that, none other than screen legend Burt Lancaster enjoyed a meal there while filming The Kentuckian.

In 1973, Barney Elliott would eventually sell it to his son Jerry who would, in turn, sell it to David Harrison in 1990. In 2011, Callas Grill was purchased by Bill Hughes. In 2022, brothers Matt and Dennis Weafer opened Sassafras in that location and to rave word-of-mouth reviews, I might add. They were still pouring in just within the last few months.

That's a very small sample size; I could seriously go on. But, unfortunately, the news of the day is the closure of Sassafras. The following was post on the Sassafras Facebook page October 20th:

Hello friends,
We want to express a huge thank you to everyone that’s been a part of our journey with building Sassafras, however we have decided to close effective today.
Opening Sassafras has been a dream of ours for years. And we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to do so, even if it was short-lived.
We have enjoyed the relationships we’ve built with customers, staff, and artists over the last year. And we appreciate all the hard work and support from anyone who has helped us along the way.
Any outstanding gift certificates will be honored at both Niko’s Bakery & Cafe and Fetta Pizza.

After the announcement, Matt's wife Jessica posted this message on her Facebook page:

Y'all, I know a lot of people are bummed to see Sassafras close, but I have to say I'm thrilled to have my husband back. He works 12-13 hours a day at the bakery, then has been going downtown to work nights at Sassafras. It's become too much. We love what we've built and we love good food, but you can't put a value on family time. It's been a whirlwind. We have no regrets. But we are very much looking forward to simplifying.

I have to tell you, that makes me feel a whole lot better. Yes, I'll miss the wonderful Sassafras menu, but Jessica is absolutely right. Some things are priceless. I'm happy for the Weafers, and I wish Matt and Dennis continued success with Niko's and Fetta.

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