Owensboro’s Pizza Hut beloved drive-thru

Last Friday I was downtown working with my buddy Ron Rhodes from Eyewitness News. He and I co-hosted the grand parade and awards ceremony for the USSSA 3 Up 3 Down Baseball Tournament at Friday After 5 and at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum. When it was over, I dropped off my vehicle at the station, picked up my car and drove home. But, first, I stopped at Pizza Hut on Frederica Street for dinner. There, after a long and exhausting day, I was greeted by Nana.

Chad Benefield

Chad Benefield

If you’ve ever visited Owensboro’s Pizza Hut location at 4127 Frederica Street, chances are you’ve met Nana. She’s a regular figure at this place’s drive-thru window and there’s a simple reason for that. As Nana explained to me, her manager likes her working at the window because she’s “talkative.” And she most certainly is.

Nana always welcomes her customers with a smile and conversation. She loves getting to know her clients. For Nana, it’s the perfect combo – pizza and people. Well, Friday night I decided it was time to get to know Nana.

Nana, by the way, is really Connie Singer. Many people in town remember Connie from the K-Mart on Parrish Avenue. She worked for the company for 35 years. She started her career in the grocery store and Kmart cafeteria and eventually retired in 2015.

Kimberly Ward Brooks

Kimberly Ward Brooks

When it opened, Connie was the assistant manager of the Parrish Avenue store. In fact, this revelation quickly led us to a conversation about a mutual friend of ours. My friend Betty Murphy also worked at this K-Mart for years. Nana bragged about Betty and said what a hard worker she was. She said, “If you needed to do anything, Betty would do it.”

Although Nana admittedly struggles a little with her memory (her family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease) and has been diagnosed with dementia praecox, she is sharp and most certainly remembers and celebrates people who have had an impact on his life. . Well, let’s face it. Nana has an impact on the lives of her clients.

Catherine Mead

Catherine Mead

Last summer, Kathryn Meade took this stunning photo of Nana and shared it:

Everyone, meet Pizza Hut Nana!! She is Pizza Hut’s greatest asset. She knows how to take care of her customers (thanks for the Nana-bag!) She’s a joy, an inspiration and just a really cool woman.

By the way, more on this “Nana bag” in a moment. But, first, a little throwback to Nana’s former job at Kmart.

While Nana bragged about her co-worker Betty, it’s easy to tell that Nana is also a hard worker. Still. Although she’s officially on disability, she’s still able to work about twenty hours a week and does so at Pizza Hut, where her customers (and co-workers) have come to love her.

My friend Denise, who has also worked at Pizza Hut for years, says that Connie usually works weekend evenings – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (sometimes Thursday). And, she’s known for spreading joy at Pizza Hut on Christmas!

Connie Singer

Connie Singer

Connie serves tables sometimes, she answers the phone and does whatever needs to be done. But his main home at Pizza Hut is that drive-thru window.

Nana makes every drive-thru experience memorable and she’s found a way to leave her mark on every order. If Nana is working when you pass through the window, you’ll walk away with a “Nana Bag” as Kathryn described it. Yes, Connie creates convenient to-go bags filled with goodies to go with your pizza.

Chad Benefield

Chad Benefield

Each Nana bag contains napkins, red pepper flakes, grated cheese and peppermints. The one I got Friday night even had a few more individually wrapped candies.

I was really tired Friday night. I had worked about thirteen hours that day and the last part had been spent outside, in sweltering heat and humidity, with a few thousand people downtown.

Carlos Becerra/Getty Images

Carlos Becerra/Getty Images

But when I drove through the drive-thru window of Pizza Hut, I completely forgot how tired I was and how much I just wanted to be home. Nana reversed that proverbial frown. I was greeted with a smile, a pizza, a story and an absolutely delicious new friend.

I lost my grandmother more than ten years ago, but I suddenly feel like I have a whole new Nana. I guarantee you that if you go to visit her, she will be yours too.

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