When it closed in 2009, Ida Mae & Joe Smith’s truck stop had been serving hearty meals to locals and travelers on U.S. Highway 17 for 71 years. When Interstate 95 was completed, most businesses on U.S. 17 struggled to stay open, but Ida Mae & Joe’s Southern cooking kept the tourists and locals coming. By 1990, Mr. and Mrs. Smith had both passed away and business slowed. None of the family wanted to run a restaurant so they leased it to Delores Vann, who was a longtime waitress at the local landmark. As Mrs. Vann’s health declined, she gave up the lease and other operators followed. Locals say it was never the same, though.
Some have suggested it was among the oldest truck stops in America, or at least one of the longest in operation.