When a restaurant remains in the same location for 36 years and local patrons remember you by face and name, you know you've left a lasting impression in the community you live in. It's with a heavy heart that Tim Lyons, owner of Kettle/Lyons Family Diner on 1301 W Central Texas Expy in Killeen, will be closing his doors for good this Sunday, September 11.

The real magic behind Kettle/Lyons Family Diner is how Tim somehow turned a corporate dining chain into a restaurant closely associated with its community.

Tim always preached to himself and his staff: "Always treat everybody like family."

That's because Tim is a part of this community and more often than not, the staff is too.

Photo courtesy of Kettle/Lyons Diner

Tim began as a bus boy, became a cook and as soon as he graduated high school, went to Texas A&M. While there he became a night manager and eventually moved up to manager before the owner gave him a call and said, "We're coming down to sign the [Copperas Cove] store over to you."

Tim was hesitant because he was broke, but the owner insisted and said don't worry about it.  The Tim got a store in Eastland, Texas followed by another in Waco!

"I ran my stores like I owned them. I think that's what made me successful in this," said Lyons.

Photo courtesy of Kettle/Lyons Diner

Tim met his wife at the diner when she worked as a waitress about 30 years ago. From then on, some family members have worked at Kettle/Lyons as well as family members of former staff because they liked working with Tim and the community.

Tim always preached to himself and his staff: "Always treat everybody like family."

Clearly, it stuck.

Tim has decided to close the business because he wants to spend more time helping his former wife who is undergoing medical issues as well as continue raising his 17-year-old grandson, stating he is trying to raise a good man. Coupled with diminishing profits and a landlord who wants to sell the property, Tim decided it was time.

But that won't stop him from continuing his passion in food. He will still provide catering under the name T.L.C., which stands for Tim Lyons Catering. He says he can cook pretty much whatever you'd want for parties of all sizes.

"If I can eat it, I can tell you how to make it," he laughed. "I love to cook. If you can cook good food, you'll never go hungry."

So come on out and have one more breakfast buffet at a local 36-year-old establishment, say your goodbyes and walk out with that bitter-sweet feeling of being full and being sad you can't come back.

For catering information, Tim said it is OK to reach him on this phone number: 254-368-8414.