A family-owned Orangeburg restaurant is closing its doors after 24 years of serving the community.

The Kuckery Restaurant & Catering at 210 Cannon Bridge Road is closing Sunday, Aug. 13.

“The community has been wonderful to us,” restaurant owner Jennifer Kuck Weeks said, choking back tears.

“We just want to tell them: thank you for all their support, their business for the 24 years. They are family to us. We know a lot of them by name even when we are not here. We see them out in the community,” she said.

“They ask about us. They ask about our family, our kids,” Weeks continued. “We just appreciate how much the community has supported us over the years and has been there for us.”

Weeks said the restaurant is closing due to family health issues.

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“My dad’s health is just not good,” Weeks said. “Business has been up and down, like it has been everywhere. It is just taking a toll on his health and it is starting to take a toll on my health. I just had to make a decision to close it because of our health. It was a hard decision.”

“Our customers are our main priority,” she said. “They are family.”

The restaurant employs about 10, with one of the cooks having worked at the restaurant since its opening in July 1999.

Week’s father, William Kuck, is the former owner of the restaurant.

He worked at the old Piggly Wiggly on Russell Street, where he was the assistant manager and oversaw the store’s deli and catering departments.

Kuck left Piggly Wiggly and worked at The Ferse 5&10 Store for a time in 1999 until his parents both died that same year.

“That is not what he wanted to do,” Weeks said. “He did not know what to do. So my brother and I talked him into opening a restaurant. He liked the customers from The Pig and from all the catering he did.”

The restaurant opened in July 1999.

Weeks left her job at Zeus in September 2001 to help manage and wait tables at the restaurant.

In April 2011, she became the owner with her father helping her run the restaurant. Over the last year, his health has been getting worse.

“It has been a lot of stress mentally and all on me, too,” Weeks said. “He is my right-hand man and it is just to the point where I just can’t keep it going.”

When asked what the biggest change has been in the restaurant business, Weeks had one word: COVID.

“It was good and then when COVID hit, … all this is just like a roller coaster up and down, up and down,” Weeks said.

Business was steady before COVID.

“When you’ve got constant price rising, it is hard for small businesses. It is just hard,” she said.

Orangeburg resident Eddie Garrett said the closure “breaks my heart.”

“They have great food and great employees. We come here a good bit,” Garrett said.

He has been coming to the restaurant for the past 15 years.

“It is a shame that they are going to be closing,” Garrett said. “There are not too many places right around here to go and have lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.”

He will miss the atmosphere and the employees.

“We are real good friends with the waitresses, and the daughter and Mr. William. We will miss that and seeing everybody,” he said.

Orangeburg resident Riley Deas Jr. said the restaurant will be missed. He eats there about twice a week.

“What I love about them is that 10 o’clock in the morning you have real food out here you can eat instead of breakfast,” Deas said. “It is going to be well missed down here because they do a lot of catering and everything else.”

“Most of my life, I have been in and out of here,” he said. “Yes, sir. It is a hurtin’ feeling.”

The restaurant has been a pillar of the community over the years.

It often sponsored an annual meal for Orangeburg County first responders, firefighters, law enforcement and Highway Patrol officers and game wardens.

The restaurant has also been a mainstay at the Taste of Orangeburg and has participated at the annual Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Foundation fundraising events. The restaurant also helped cater the former Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce annual banquets.

It will be business as usual at the restaurant until its closure. It will be open Tuesday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday from 5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The future of the building is unknown.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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