Long-time, grateful patrons of Carriage House enjoy last Sunday lunch

Published 2:10 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Elodie Pritchartt went to the Carriage House on Sunday to document its swan song, the last time it would serve a Sunday buffet as the legendary restaurant that opened initially in 1946.

The Pilgrimage Garden Club, which owns Stanton Hall and the Carriage House, located in the Gay 90s building on the Stanton Hall property, decided to close the restaurant to daily lunch service, citing changing times and the economic difficulty of operating a restaurant that only serves lunch. The Carriage House will serve lunch for the last time on Tuesday.

Pritchartt’s great aunt, Katherine Grafton Miller, is considered the founder of Spring Pilgrimage in Natchez. She helped start the restaurant on the grounds of Stanton Hall.

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“Of course, it makes me sad,” Pritchartt said. “I remember going to the swimming pool and getting those delicious hamburgers and popsicles from the window (that served the pool area). But, you know, I think it’s time. I think they need to move on.

“My poor great aunt, knowing the Tableaux has ended, Hope Farm burned, and the Carriage House is closing … I’m glad she’s not here to see it. Life has changed, and the only constant is change. I knew I had to go yesterday to get a record of it. Hopefully, something bigger and better will come along, and it will spring back to life like a Phoenix,” she said.

Charlotte Copeland, a long-time Natchez Realtor whose daughter is Laura Tate of Tate & Company Real Estate, once worked at Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, which was located in the same building as the Carriage House.

“I was very pleased with the attitude everyone had yesterday. All are sort of looking forward to what the next thing is going to be,” Copeland said.

“I was always a Sunday lunch person at the Carriage House and have been for many, many years. I worked with Hattie Stacy when Natchez Pilgrimage Tours was located upstairs in the Gay 90s building. I worked there during the heyday of tourism in Natchez, when thousands and thousands of tourists came here, and the smell of that chicken and biscuits would just drive us crazy,” she said.

“I will definitely miss it. The Carriage House had such elegance with its white tablecloths. And I think Wayne (Bryant-Cannon, chef and executive director) did the best that he could. Times have changed, and I am proud of what the Pilgrimage Garden Club is doing there now. I think there is a great future for the Carriage House. It’s just too great a property not to succeed. It’s on the grounds of Stanton Hall and has the pool there. I think what comes next will be the best that it can be. I think we are going to do very well in the new look and use of the Gay 90s building,” Copeland said.