Etta Willett’s idea of The Cookstove – one of Henderson’s newest restaurants – was a good one. She wanted to open a restaurant where people could order old-fashioned food fixed in the Southern tradition. Mrs. Willett discussed the proposed venture with her husband, Malcolm, a Henderson contractor; her son, Harry Willett, a Henderson physician; and his wife, Lynda. They decided to lease a facility at 2550 U.S. 41 that formerly was Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.
They remodeled the restaurant’s interior in a country theme with new wallpaper, brown-and-white checked curtains and brown-and-white tablecloths. The Cookstove – with a fresh clean-looking interior – opened on Feb. 16. Since then, the restaurant has frequently been crowded during lunch and dinner hours. As you enter The Cookstove, there is an old cast-iron stove in the foyer next to a wooden hutch and kitchen table. It looks like a setting from the past.
A friend of Etta Willett found the old iron stove in Madisonville, and brought it to Henderson.
“We live such a fast lifestyle these days we thought it would be good to have a setting that reflected the way things used to be.” said Lynda Wiliett.

This building later became The Bluegrass Pancake House


Evansville Courier and Press August 3, 1980