Campbellsville’s Creek Side Restaurant
As a University of Kentucky student working summers in 1982, Terry Pennington was busing tables and washing dishes at what was then called the Cumberland House Restaurant in Campbellsville.
Pennington says Creek Side Restaurant evolved from Cumberland House Restaurant. After a few name changes and owners later, Pennington started Creek Side Restaurant in 1998. “I stayed because I loved the restaurant business,” he says.
A fire destroyed the downtown location in 2004, which used to sit beside a creek. The restaurant was relocated down the road in an elegant building that seats 260. “We’re fortunate to have a big restaurant. Even with social distancing, we can seat quite a few,” says Pennington.
Pennington works with a staff of approximately 30, and is a hands-on owner. “I go wherever I’m needed—busing tables at lunch, cooking on the line at night, helping seat people,” says Pennington.
His kitchen manager is Louise Lawson. “We’ve been together since the Cumberland House days,” he says. “She’s been with me since day one.”
Creek Side has two banquet rooms upstairs for parties, business meetings, rehearsal dinners and other events. “We can set up a buffet upstairs for parties,” Penington says.
They do offsite catering as well, such as for doctor offices during the week. “We do a lot of industry Christmas dinners and parties,” he adds.
Pennington says Creek Side is definitely a hometown business because they are not located on an interstate. “Most of our business is local repeat customers,” he says.
Open seven days a week, 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Creek Side, served by Taylor County RECC, is known for its extensive buffet, which Pennington says is what keeps customers coming back.
Buffet selections change daily. “It gives customers a good variety and allows for repeat business. You can eat every day of the week and have different choices,” he says.
“We peel the potatoes and make homemade mashed potatoes every day, which is unheard of in today’s restaurant,” he says.
“People routinely thank me for the buffet, for offering a quality meal at a reasonable price, that’s comparable to grandma’s cooking.”
A full menu is also offered. There’s steak, seafood, barbecue ribs, roast beef, hand-patted hamburgers, salads, sandwiches and a salad bar.
Pennington says, “We offer country ham that is produced locally by Penn’s Hams, known all over the world.”
Catfish on Fridays is another big draw, “offered on our buffet on Friday all day,” he says. Weekend specials might include frog legs or prime rib.
“Sweet tea is the drink of the house,” Pennington says.