Tour the Timeline


Walter & Leaudra move to Louisville – plan to help daughter Mary with her first born (Alan) due in April 1954.


Walter and Leaudra begin management of the Melrose Inn restaurant with their son George. Derby-Pie™ chocolate nut pie is created, named and sold for the 1st time. The actual name was pulled from a hat.


Over 1,000 pies sold this year! Pictured: Melrose Inn


The Kerns leave the Melrose Inn as managers, but continue to sell Derby-Pie® to the restaurant until it closes in 2000. All baking is done at their home kitchen (at the Hershey Farmhouse) in Prospect; baking three pies at a time and mixing in a small, five-quart KitchenAid® mixer.


Upon advice of local restaurateur Ed Hasenour & Judge Merhige (friend of George Kern) — Walter & Leaudra file for State and Federal Trademark Protection for the Derby-Pie® trademark.


George Kern passes away.


October 7, 1969 – Kern’s Kitchen is granted a Federal Trademark on the Principal Register from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Derby-Pie®.


Walter and Leaudra move from the Hershey Farmhouse to 125 Arterburn Drive in Louisville and convert a 15’ x 15’ screened-in porch to their production kitchen.


Alan Rupp gets his start in the business commuting from college on the weekends to help with the Derby season. At that time the total customers numbered 14. Restaurant accounts included Hasenour’s, Bauer’s, The Melrose Inn and The Embassy Supper Club plus one retail account.


Production capacity doubles when the Kerns upgrade from 2 Frigidaire kitchen oven ranges baking 6 pies at a time to 1 Vulcan gas convection oven baking 24 pies at a time.


Walter Kern passes away.

Over 10,000 pies sold for the first time this year.


Kern’s lands the Kentucky State Resort Park account and its first distributor (Tommy Borders Meats) to extend distribution outside of Louisville, Kentucky.


Leaudra Kern passes away.


Kern’s Kitchen moves to 408 Production Court with 2,000 sq. ft. A new rotary tray oven with 80 pie capacity is purchased. The 5 qt. KitchenAid® mixer is replaced with an 80 qt. Century mixer.


Kern’s produces the worlds largest Derby-Pie® chocolate nut pie (12’ diameter) and serves pie for the grand re-opening of the Kentucky Derby Museum.


Kern’s Kitchen begins partnership with the Kentucky Derby Festival.


In 1982, Federal Judge Charles M. Allen issues the first order enforcing the Derby-Pie® trademark. Kern’s Kitchen has successfully enforced the Derby-Pie® trademark throughout the years against Bon Appetit Magazine, Sweet Streets Desserts and Nestle Foods to name but a few.


Kern’s Kitchen doubles production space to 4,000 sq. ft.


Over 100,000 pies sold this year!


Jon Rupp (Walter and Leaudra’s great grandson) joins as “The Pie Guy.”


New Golden Pecan pie launched. Recipe based on Pecan Pie from Leaudra’s recipe book.


Production begins at the new kitchen at 2420 Ampere Drive.


First Derby production at the new kitchen. American Pharoah wins the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby and goes on to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.


After 23 years at Kern's Kitchen, Chief Smile Officer & CEO of First Impressions Ruth Fejfar retires.

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