Sportsman Restaurant shuts doors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sportsman Restaurant shuts doors

December 24, 2003

Moultrie - It's a landmark in one south Georgia town, but the Sportsman Restaurant shut its doors for good. It opened up in the early 1900's.

The word got out fast in Moultrie. Customer, Bobby Johnson, says, "You can find out just about anything about anybody."

Normally you go to the Sportsman Restaurant to find out the gossip, but today the long time Moultrie icon is part of the news. Postmaster Johnson is a regular. He adds, "It's like losing a family."

Printed in big bold letters on the Moultrie Observer's front page, "Sportsman Serves Last Meal Today". Johnson says, "When you talk about Moultrie and eating you talk about the Sportsman."

These customers will miss the food, but most of all the owner 82-year-old Sadie Sheffield. A customer and former employee hugs her and says, "I love her very much, I've cried for three days over this."

Looking at the packed house, Sheffield says, "It's a real good feeling to know you have so many friends."

They call her Mamma Sadie and she knows most everybody by name. She points at tables and says, "Mary and her husband have been coming for ever and ever. Oh, and I can't see who's in the back booth, oh yeah, it's my eye doctor."

She calls her customers her children, but now it's time for them to leave the nest. Johnson laughs, "I don't know what I'll eat."

A family tradition that started in the 1900's ends today, on Christmas Eve 2003.

Sadie Sheffield will retire, but plans to volunteer in nursing homes.

The building was bought by the owners of Blue Sky Grill. They plan to renovate the building and possibly turn it into a banquet room.

posted at 3:45PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com