- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

BROWNSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - When Calvin and Ramona Durham opened Porky Pig Diner in south-central Kentucky about 19 years ago, Calvin Durham saw it as an opportunity to provide people with better food than he was used to getting when he traveled as a truck driver.

“I serve food like I would want to eat, something that was cooked instead of just pre-fabbed and warmed up and put out,” he said.

It is that emphasis on quality food that Calvin Durham said brings people to his small Edmonson County diner near Mammoth Cave National Park near Ky. 422 and Ky. 259.

The Durhams took over the restaurant in May 1995, and it since has developed a following among locals and outsiders.

Kenneth Sanders lives in the area and said he comes to the diner for lunch almost every day and usually orders the catfish.

He said he likes that he can get his fish cooked the way he wants it.

He’ll often meet his brother or other friends at the diner to talk and catch up, he said.

“It’s how I keep up with the current events,” Sanders said.

He and his wife also often come for the Sunday buffet after church, he said.

Sanders said he is friends with the Durhams and appreciates having the restaurant in the area, where there aren’t a lot of other nearby options.

Ramona Durham said the diner’s success is tied to the fact that customers are treated as members of an extended family.

Porky Pig Diner is a local meeting place for the surrounding community and an option for them to keep up with one another, she said.

“It is the only place that they can actually get together and eat, sit, talk and enjoy themselves,” Ramona Durham said.

When the restaurant opened, its menu consisted mostly of catfish and hamburgers, but as customers came in requesting dishes, the menu has grown, Calvin Durham said.

He said his favorite dishes at the restaurants are the catfish and the Boston butt, which is smoked on site.

Calvin Durham said people come from Bowling Green, Glasgow, Hodgenville and other cities to eat at the diner because of the food. “They just don’t have truly home-cooked food,” he said.

Ramona Durham, who works at the restaurant daily, said her favorite thing to do at the diner is to whip up homemade desserts, including chocolate, peanut butter and coconut cream pies and strawberry shortcake.

Doris and Ronald “Tiny” Emerson of Rocky Hill enjoy coming to the diner for its buffet on Fridays. It also offers a buffet on Saturdays for dinner and a breakfast and a lunch buffet on Sundays.

Doris Emerson said she particularly enjoys the cobbler. “The food is fabulous,” she said.

She has lived in the area for about 50 years, and her family is from the area.

“I like the owners, and it just feels like a family situation,” she said.

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