“He never met a stranger.”
That’s how Robbie Carver describes his dad, Robert, of Carver’s Country Kitchen. Robert Carver passed away recently after a battle with pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed last December.
Most people remember Robert smiling and joking at the cash register each day at this homey meat-and-three. Robbie laughs, “He couldn’t cook a lick.” Those duties were left in the hands of Robert’s wife, Sharon. Yet, Robert didn’t completely escape kitchen responsibilities. His jobs included cleaning collards, peeling potatoes, prepping rutabagas and making the iced tea.
According to his son, Robert was an entrepreneur all of his life. When he moved to Atlanta from his native Douglas, Georgia in 1979, he started a small grocery store here, which became a restaurant in 1990. Somewhere along the way, Carver’s Country Kitchen gained icon status as throngs of people jostled for parking spots just to grab a helping of meatloaf or a plate of collards, mac & cheese and black eyed peas.
Each person who came through the door at Carver’s was a friend to Robert. “He felt like he’d known them forever,” says Robbie. Therefore, the family invites those who knew and loved Robert to join them this weekend for a memorial service in his honor. “He was so close to everyone, so we wanted to open it to everyone.”
The service will be held tomorrow, Mar. 31, at 4 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Catholic Center (172 4th St. N.W., Atlanta). Parking will be available in the lower level parking deck at the corner of 4th Street and Britton Drive. The restaurant will host a reception following the service.
Carver’s Country Kitchen has reopened for business after closing for the few days following Robert’s death. Robbie Carver is currently working at the restaurant until Sharon can return to the kitchen to serve up customer favorites.
In the words of one mourner on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “Our cornbread is at half mast…”
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog