Manufacturer: Carr China
User: Ferrell Brothers Snappy Service
Date of mug: 1937
Notes: After speaking with a knowledgeable old-timer who works at the Hopkinsville, Ky., location of what came to be known as Ferrell's Snappy Service, she confirmed what is posted on various Internet sites – that Ferrell Brothers Snappy Service was opened in 1929 in in Owensboro, Ky., by six Ferrell brothers.
The Hopkinsville location was opened in 1936 by one brother, David S. Ferrell, and his wife Cecil Doris Ferrell. At some point after that, the brothers decided to amicably split off to each own and operate their own restaurants, including the original restaurant in Owensboro, the second in Hopkinsville, and locations in Cadiz, Henderson, Bowling Green and Madisonville, all in Kentucky.
David Ferrell died in 2001 at 87; his restaurant was featured in Southern Living Magazine the same year. In 2003, the governor of Kentucky recognized Ferrell's Snappy Service in Hopkinsville as a "Kentucky landmark" and "one of the oldest, most successful small businesses in Kentucky." Open "24 hours a day, six days a week, "Mrs. Ferrell has often said Ferrell's has been a meeting place "for folks through the years who work late shifts or who just want to get together. " (See the photo above of Mrs. Ferrell with Pres. George W. Bush.)
The restaurants were tiny spots with as few as eight seats inside, but curb service was available for their quintessential menu of burgers and chili and pecan pie. Five-cent hamburgers were advertised, as on the photo of the 1937 mug.
The Hopkinsville, Owensboro and Cadiz Ferrell's Snappy Service restaurants are still open today (2013) and go by the name Ferrell's Hamburgers.
The green decal shows one of the original locations, with the words Ferrell Brothers Snappy Service below and on the building itself.
The name seems to have been taken from other earlier Snappy Service restaurants, such as this reference from "Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age," to a Missouri chain opened in 1925 by Paul C. Hill. "The word 'snappy' for his 'Snappy Service' chain Hill took from the period's vernacular reference to an activity performed not merely quickly but well, reliable, and proudly. This strategy for popular appeal partly through popular language bound to a particular time would be repeated in the restaurant trade throughout the twentieth century." And of course most of these restaurants modeled themselves after the White Castle chain.
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Ferrell Brothers Snappy Service 2 by Jackson China
ID and photo contributed by Susan Phillips