TREMONT – The restaurant that will fund Tremont’s memorial to the “First Lady of Country Music” has opened its doors.

The Tammy Wynette Legacy Park Restaurant, located inside the park’s main building, held a soft opening this past weekend. Turnout was larger than expected, and the small staff faced large crowds and a few hiccups for their initial run.

Roughly 600 people walked through the restaurant’s doors from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon, according to the restaurant’s management, surpassing expectations for what was a largely unpromoted test-run of the small restaurant. There were long lines and significant waits throughout the initial weekend as people from both inside and outside of Tremont dropped by to visit the long-in-development restaurant and museum dedicated to country music legend and Tremont native Tammy Wynette.

 On Monday, John Nichols, manager of the park and restaurant, chalked up most of the weekend’s issues to the kinds of bumps any restaurant might face.

“We had a few kinks that we’re working out, but we had a good weekend,” Nichols said. “We had some good nights and good turnouts.

“We’re all new at this and working together,” Nichols added. “We’re going to improve.”

Tremont Mayor Robert Don Whitehead, who prior to taking office headed up the committee responsible for overseeing the construction and opening of the park and restaurant, called the high volume of traffic for the opening weekend an encouraging sign.

“It was more than we could handle at times,” Whitehead said with a dry laugh. “We had customers from opening until closing every night.”

In particular, the mayor touted the number of Tremont residents who visited the restaurant for the opening weekend.

“That first night, I’d say around 95 percent of the people eating there were from Tremont,” he said.

The restaurant will open again this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. for dinner service. The restaurant will open on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. for a lunch buffet.

The opening of the restaurant represents a big leap forward in the progress of turning the former home of Itawamba Manufacturing into an attraction that many are hoping will bring country music lovers from around the world into the small town of Tremont. Work on the Tammy Wynette Legacy Park has been ongoing since 2012, although it wasn’t until 2014, when the project received a boost in funding of $2.5 million in state bonds, that construction of the site began in earnest.

Construction of the park’s main building was completed last year with plans to open the building to the public in April. That opening was delayed, although the building has played host to several events over the past few months.

Profits from the restaurant will be used to keep the park’s main building, which will also feature a museum and store, up and running.