Jackson’s Cafeteria will close its Rock Hill site after almost 20 years.
The lease was about to end for the Rock Hill location at 1735 Heckle Boulevard, so owner Ronnie Jackson said he decided to close the restaurant mainly due to higher property taxes.
“I hate that these people are losing their jobs, and they come talk to me everyday begging me to keep it open," he said.
Ronnie's parents, Robert and Sara Jackson, opened the first restaurant in Gastonia more than 40 years ago on a whim.
“There was a small cafeteria in Gastonia that was going out of business,” Ronnie said. “A guy with money came along and (told my father) ‘hey, how about going 50-50 with me since you know all about it and I’ve got the money. And they started Jackson’s Cafeteria in Gastonia.”
The restaurant expanded to multiple locations in South Carolina.
“At one point they had about six locations, but pared down so they could keep it within the family,” he said.
Ronnie said the Rock Hill site opened about 20 years ago on Ebenezer Road before coming to the current spot.
The restaurant continues to be run by members of the Jackson family.
“It’s truly a family business. It was my mom and dad’s for a long time. Dad handled the back and mother sat at the cash register,” Ronnie said.
History seems to have repeated at the Rock Hill restaurant, as Jackson handles the back, and his wife, Sharon, sits at the cash register.
Jackson and his wife said they are sad to see the place they have called home for almost 30 years come to a close.
“It’s very sad. We’ve talked about it a lot and a lot of our customers are older and we feel like we have a service for them,” Sharon said. “It breaks my heart because they say ‘well, where are we going to eat now, and it’s sad.”
Jackson’s Cafeteria has developed a loyal customer base over the years, feeding around 500 to 600 people a day, Ronnie said.
Bobby Parker, 83, has been a customer at the restaurant for more than 20 years.
“There used to be a group of eight of us that would eat over here every afternoon, and they’re all gone now but me. Times have changed,” Parker said.
As Jackson’s Cafeteria says goodbye to Rock Hill, the owner has one last thing to say.
“Just thank you," Ronnie said. "Thank you for the last 40 years, we’ve really enjoyed being in Rock Hill.”
The last day for the restaurant will be April 1. The original location in Gastonia remains open.