KFC & Memphis


In 1956 Jack Pirtle owned a full service restaurant at the corner of Jefferson and Third St., known as Jefferson Cafe, Mr Jack’s bread man at the time told Mr. Jack about an uncle of his that was trying to get someone in Memphis to sell his style of chicken. His uncle had not had much luck with the other restaurant owners in the area and the bread man wondered if Mr. Jack would be interested in trying it. Mr. Jack said yes he would and the uncle came by left 2 pressure cook pots, cooking instructions and the seasoning that was to be mixed with flour. Mr. Jack tried it and began selling the chicken cooked this way just 3 days of the week as a special item. It was well received he started selling it every day of the week. This was the first Kentucky Fried Chicken sold in Memphis. The uncle’s name was Colonel Harlin Sanders and the bread man’s name was Lee Cummings.

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