Johnny Appleseed serves its last meal

New Market’s well-known Johnny Appleseed Restaurant closed its doors for good Sunday due to competition from larger chain operations and difficulties maintaining employees, said Mary Smith, general manager for the restaurant and adjoining Quality Inn.

Established in 1972, the restaurant at 162 W. Old Cross Road offered its take on American fare for more than 40 years before shuttering its doors. It served as a meeting place for tourists and locals alike. Smith said she has heard from local residents and tourists about how they will  miss the New Market restaurant and its statue of Johnny Appleseed.

It hasn’t been only New Market residents commenting on the closure, Smith said. “In fact, we’ve probably had more comments from tourists who are used to staying with us. (They’re) used to meeting family members here, they would travel and meet them here. … we also had some very loyal local customers.”

Smith said that the decision to close the restaurant was made by Quality Inn ownership and was enacted for a variety of reasons.

“We have a lot of factors that go into it – very difficult to find qualified employees – that’s a very big one,” she said. “It’s just become very difficult for an independent restaurant. There are too many chains out there. They have the buying power and the advertisement that make it very hard for an independent to compete.”

She said that she was unsure of the future of the Johnny Appleseed building and whether it would be filled with a new restaurant.

“I do not know,” Smith said. “It’s still part of our complex. (We) haven’t made any decisions about that.”

Smith went on to say that of the 13 or so mostly part-time employees working for Johnny Appleseed at the time of the closing, four will be retained for preparation of continental breakfast offered by the Quality Inn.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or