Willis and Ann Parker opened the Kum Back Lunch in Enid in 1951, located in the building where Cliff’s Camera was uptown. They decided to move back to Hennessey and opened The Dinette Cafe on July 11, 1960, at 203 S. Main Street (old Eagle Real Estate). The Dinette originally only seated 28 people but was expanded to accommodate 60 and was always full.
In 1973, the First Christian Church at 3rd and Main relocated, and Ann and Willis converted the building renaming their restaurant to the Parker House. Willis’ pies and cinnamon rolls are still remembered and talked about to this day, making mouths water and stomachs growl.
During the oil boom days, the Parker’s would pack as many as 100 lunches every morning for oilfield workers to take out to the field. Their secret to success was simple “home cooking,” but Willis and Ann attributed much of their success to the people that worked with them over the years, along with their four children Jimmy, Roger, Judy, and Claudia.
Unfortunately, Willis passed away September 18, 1991, and Ann closed the business a year later. Ann cried across the street in her car as they took the building down, leaving nothing but an empty field. Ann Parker passed away on September 28, 2009. For those of you who were not here back in the day, you missed one of Hennessey’s great restaurant experiences.