Bill Smith’s Cafe was a staple of McKinney for 66 years. Originally owned and run by his parents, Bill spent the last 38 years waking up at 3 a.m. to make breakfast.
“When we first opened, the city fathers said we were too far out of town to do any business,” laughed Smith.
Back in 1956, when the cafe opened, it was in the center of the small town of McKinney, and people would walk to grab a bite from it. The decor was the same, consisting of old Coke signs and cigarette ads that transported customers back in time.
Among the other decor on the walls were political stickers and fliers. During a 2021 interview with WFAA, Bill was not shy about his beliefs.
“If you don’t like us, don’t come back in,” he laughed.
The building is set to be torn down in the next couple of months, but the cafe’s signature outdoor sign will remain a part of the city; it is being transported elsewhere, though Smith did not specify what that new location would be.
The 83-year-old got sentimental when talking about his relationship with the cafe. After the 66 years that the cafe was in business, the 50 years that Smith worked there, and the 38 years he spent running it by himself, it was hard for him to say goodbye.
“I’ve opened up every morning for nearly 50 years. I don’t want to tear up right now,” said Smith.
In the days leading up to the cafe’s closure, patrons who visited there over the years returned to have one last meal. The restaurant stayed full for its last two weeks as people got their last taste of the town staple.
Now that the cafe has closed for good, Smith says he will focus on his health, which is the reason for the cafe’s closing, and the boat he’s been neglecting.
Bill Smith’s Cafe closed on Sunday, July 31.