By Jesse Wood
March 28, 2014. Closing for good after “18 great years at the restaurant,” Knights on Main in Blowing Rock served its last customers on Thursday, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“There are a lot of reasons for us to close but this decision is being made for our family and for our dad. It is time for us to be a family. We had a wonderful staff that we would like to thank for everything they have done. We would like to thank all of our wonderful customers that have become our friends over the years. Even though we are sad the sun will come up tomorrow and we will be alright,” reads the post signed Izzy, Emma and Ayden.
While owner Tim Knight couldn’t be reached on Friday morning, he told Blowing Rock News on Thursday that this past winter was one of – if the – worst winter his business has ever experienced.
“That certainly didn’t help things,” Knight said. “But this is part of a larger trend. The cost of doing business on Main Street has gone up, and the volume of business has gone down or, at best, stayed the same. We take a lot of pride in the meals that we serve, but you can only raise prices so much before customers start thinking about other alternatives, whether it is driving to a fast food restaurant in Boone or fixing breakfast at home, or arranging that business meeting around a cup of coffee instead of saying, ‘let’s talk about this over lunch.'”
Knight has worked in kitchens all of his life, having spent 17 years at another Blowing Rock culinary landmark, Sonny’s Grill, which closed in 2009 for some of the same economic reasons.
Tommy Klutz, whose father operated Sonny’s Grill for decades, sympathized with Knight, noting the similarities between Sonny’s Grille and Knights on Main and calling Knight a member of the family. Klutz mentioned that Knight didn’t want to shut down, but it was a “matter of arithmetic.”
He said that Knight started working at Sonny’s Grill as a young teenager, working his way up from dishwasher to “a really good short order cook” to manager. Klutz said that even though Knight took some of Sonny’s business when Knight opened his own restaurant just down the road, the two remained very close and helped each other out when the other was a in a bind.
“Losing a small town restaurant like Sonny’s or Timmy’s is a killer for the town of Blowing Rock,” Klutz said. “I mean, there are other restaurants, but they just don’t have the same charm and they never will.”
In a letter posted on the front door to Knights on Main noting the closing, Knight thanked the community, customers and employees:
“Words cannot express how much we have appreciated all of the support that this town and our customers have given us. Most of our customers seem more like family than they do customers and we are going to miss it all very much. We have been fortunate to have had a great staff that worked very hard for us and this restaurant. We are going to miss them. We would like to publicly thank them for all they have done for us.”