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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Charles Stivers

Pat's Snack Bar

Pat House opened Pat’s Snack Bar in Manchester, Kentucky, as a pool hall in 1947. In the beginning, Pat’s was only a pool room. In 1952, House moved the pool hall to a new building. Pat’s Snack Bar expanded, adding a restaurant to the pool hall, where he served his famous cheeseburgers, ham and cheese sandwiches, and chili buns to hungry customers. Pat owned the restaurant until his death in 2011.

Like many of his neighbors, Charles Stivers grew up in Manchester, Kentucky, in a coal-mining family. After obtaining a degree in accounting, he returned to Manchester and the mines and worked three years as a coal-miner for the Shamrock Coal Company before finding a job in accounting. As an accountant, he did not anticipate getting involved in the restaurant business.

Over the years, Pat’s Snack Bar has become a Manchester landmark, providing a place for citizens to socialize. In 2011, a friend of Charles Stivers approached him about investing in Pat’s Snack Bar. The man wanted to revive the local restaurant. Stivers saw the need for a gathering place and a good cheeseburger. He partnered with his friend, and they began remodeling the pool hall and restaurant. Soon after, Stivers became the sole owner. He reopened the pool hall as a restaurant in 2012. In 2015, Stivers added a bar to the establishment. Today, Manchester residents and visitors from all across the United States continue to visit Pat’s for a cheeseburger or chili bun.

Date of interview:

Sara Wood

Sara Wood

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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