It will be housed in new Swope Toyota building
A favorite Hardin County restaurant will soon be making its return to Elizabethtown in a partnership that has been at least three years in the making.
Inside the new Swope Toyota dealership along North Dixie in Elizabethtown will be an extension of Glendale’s beloved The Whistle Stop restaurant.
“This is a partnership where we are trying to create a very different in-dealership experience from what is typical,” said Carl Swope, president of Swope Family of Dealerships. “I think a lot of people think the only reason you go to an automobile dealership is to buy a car and get your car serviced. We don’t think that way. We think there’s a lot of reasons to come.”
The extension will be designed as a cafe. Mike and Lynn Cummins, co-owners of The Whistle Stop for 11 years, ensured the cafe still will be the same Whistle Stop brand and taste.
“We will have some of the customer favorites there but we’ll have a lot of new things too to introduce,” Lynn said.
The cafe, which will have a full kitchen, will serve espresso drinks, desserts, Panini sandwiches, soups, daily hot plate lunches and meals that include Whistle Stop favorites, as well as additional treats like cookies, muffins and cupcakes, among other eats.
Some of the fan favorite foods also may have additional features on the menu. Mike named the pulled pork barbecue sandwich as an example, saying the pulled pork could be used inside a taco.
“We’ll put a little flair on some of the items that we have and introduce some of those things,” he said.
Swope said the dealerships have strived to create a different type of environment from the average dealership, naming the Cars of Yesteryear museum as an example.
The Whistle Stop is a new dimension to that environment. The cafe will be open to the public, not only Swope customers.
The dealership and cafe overlooks Freeman Lake and features expansive views and a large, cozy fireplace.
“Here’s a coffee shop with a view of the lake,” Swope said. “It’s right there and it just happens, oh, by the way, to be in an automobile dealership. So what? It’s a beautiful location.”
The cafe will maintain the same hours as the dealership, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during winter months on those days.
“There’s not anyone in the state of Kentucky probably that hasn’t heard of The Whistle Stop,” said Kathy McCubbin, vice president and general manager of Swope Family of Dealerships. “We wanted something very unique. We want it to be an experience with the customer when they come in. There’s nothing better than when you walk into a place and you feel at home. That’s the atmosphere that we’re trying to reach.”
Mike and Lynn opened a Whistle Stop establishment in Elizabethtown in 2008 in the Cool Springs Center. Mike said they made the decision not to renew the lease when the center became more of a destination for finances and medical businesses rather than retail, causing foot traffic to decrease in the restaurant.
McCubbin said they hope the cafe and dealership will jointly open before Christmas.
Swope said everyone will be moving in early December and the company plans a soft opening.
Anna Taylor can be reached at 270-505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.