Max Flannery, owner of Loudon Square Buffet, has died

Raymond Max Flannery, who for nearly 50 years ran Max’s Loudon Square Buffet in Lexington, died Friday morning at Baptist Health, his son said. He was 84 years old.

Flannery had operated Max’s Loudon Square Buffet since 1974, when he took it over from Clay Wallace, and he continued to work every day until he was hospitalized in March, said his son, Hubert Max Flannery, who is also calls Max. The restaurant, at 801 North Broadway, closed in April because the family was no longer able to operate it.

Until then, Flannery was there 365 days a year, serving house specialties such as fried chicken, cornbread, pinto beans and banana pudding.

Flannery’s son said in April that the restaurant was “my dad’s life’s work, his passion, his hobby, his career. That’s all for my dad.

“He’s the one who made the restaurant.”

“My dad was literally there 7 days a week, at least 12 hours a day,” he said. “It was his life.”

In 2016, when he was 78, Flannery told a Herald-Leader reporter that he was still working an 85-hour week.

“It’s an experience to eat my food,” he said. “People love it.”

Max Flannery called a customer at the Loudon Square Buffet in Lexington, Ky on August 24, 2016. Flannery served locals at the buffet from 1974 to 2022, 365 days a year. Pablo Alcala [email protected]

His son said the restaurant had longtime customers who had eaten there every day for decades.

“There was a time when this place was teeming with life and life from every corner,” he said during the April interview. “That’s been great to be able to go there and see a governor, a pro wrestler, a homeless man, IBM employees, people from the Hope Center…every walk of life imaginable on any day of the week.

“All welcome. It’s the genius of what my dad built, it’s a community center.

Flannery, who was born in 1938, grew up in Travelers Rest in Owsley County but came to Lexington sometimes in the summer to work with his uncle at a local restaurant, his son said.

After high school, he worked in Ohio for a short time before returning to Lexington, where he worked at another of Clay Wallace’s restaurants and ran the Catalina restaurant before taking over the operation of Loudon Square Buffet, according to his son.

In the 1980s, Flannery also had a thriving catering business and “sometimes he would work sleepless nights” to keep everything running, his son said.

“He was a beautiful person and he loved feeding people,” he said.

Flannery was married for more than 50 years to Sandy Crutcher Flannery and was an Army veteran, according to his obituary. Besides his wife and son, Flannery is survived by three grandchildren.

A private family service will be held later, according to Kerr Brothers Funeral Home.

Liver and mashed potatoes were among the buffet options as Max Flannery swapped an empty tray of food. Pablo Alcala photo from personnel file 2016

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