Judy Largent trading apron for metal detector
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
After nearly half a century in the restaurant business, Judy Largent is ready to trade her apron for a metal detector.
“I’m going to try to get me a metal detector and try it out at the lakes and beach,” said Largent, who is retiring at age 65 from Midland Restaurant.
She also wants to publish a book she wrote for her niece, Shelby.
She started her restaurant career when she was 20 years old waiting tables, a career she has pursued for nearly 45 years.
That is one more year than she has been married to Bill Largent. The couple live on Beverly Drive in Alcoa with their only “child,” a Maltese dog named Molly.
Judy Largent has been with Midland Restaurant owner Jerry St. Clair and his wife all those years, since they operated a Jerry’s, a chain similar to a Shoney’s.
They changed at least 30 to 35 years ago, becoming Midland Restaurant — selling their country clients the comfort foods they crave.
“Our customers used to be a little more laid back than they are now, but I’ve got excellent customers. That’s the reason I‘m here, I love the customers,” Largent said.
Employee relationships at Midland are long term. She has worked with waitress Tina Young for 21 years and cook Sherry Townsend 15 to 20 years. Many of the dozen employees have been there for years.
“We have young and old customers. We even have small children that want to come here. They say they want to go to Judy’s,” she said.
Blount County Mayor Eddie Mitchell is one of their customers. “The mayor called me personally to invite me to the tree lighting. We’re going to be there,” she said.
While Judy Largent is often the front person operating the cash register, that is by far not all she does.
“I do everything — the books, wash dishes, cook, hire and fire and mainly handle the front,” she said.
She’s not ashamed of her age. “I just turned 65. That’s why I’m retiring. Saturday will be my last day.
“I can come up with things to do,” she said, reflecting on retirement. “It doesn’t take much to make me happy, as long as I’m healthy.”