MAYFIELD, Ky. — A 50-year-old biscuit pan was one of the few things Suzanne Flint could salvage from her family restaurant after the Mayfield tornado flattened the 67-year-old building last year.

“I lost my whole family history in there,” said Flint. 

Even with all the heartache and hard work ahead of her, there was never a question about it: they would be back.

What You Need To Know

  • Carr’s Barn, which had been in business since the 1950s, was destroyed in the Dec. 2021 tornado

  • Suzanne Flint and her family worked to quickly rebuild the restaurant 

  • It reopened in June as The Barn 

  • Most of the businesses in the area have not been rebuilt 

“Within a week, we were already trying to get our permit and get the lot cleaned up,” said Flint.  

Carr’s Barn had been in the family since 1954 and made it through the worst of the pandemic. 

It was the kind of place where the staff would call to check on regulars if they didn’t make it in. 

Suzanne Flint's family restaurant The Barn reopened in June on West Broadway in Mayfield. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Kelly)

The family didn’t have insurance, so they took out a second mortgage on their house to rebuild the restaurant as “The Barn,” said Flint. It opened in June.

“So many of our customers had nowhere to go the longest time, and I felt guilty about that,” said Flint. “I wanted to get it built so fast... I think it gives people hope just to see anything back here open.”

It would be easy to get discouraged when you see how things look on West Broadway, beyond the kitchen window. 

There are empty spaces all around the restaurant where other businesses used to be. The post office across the street is boarded up. 

Flint doesn’t see the downtown area coming back any time soon, she said.  

Coffee is served in new #mayfieldstrong mugs inside The Barn in downtown Mayfield. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Kelly)

“I feel like when the courthouse and all the other offices opened up on the other side of town, life just carried on because you get out there and it’s like nothing happened,” said Flint. 

Marsha Coffer, who spends six days a week at The Barn, was sipping out of one of the restaurant’s new coffee mugs marked “#mayfieldstrong.”

“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, even now, with most everything gone,” she said. “I’ve lived here all my life and I would like to see it grow back and I’d like to see people come visit and consider moving here.” 

One year later, the storm’s impact on Mayfield is still “surreal,” said Flint. 

“It’s been a hard year,” she said. “It’s been emotional. It’s been exhausting, you know, stressful, but I mean, as a whole, I think it’s all been really positive.”

She’s hopeful and ready to get back to normal, whatever that looks like.