Eminent domain forces longtime Lufkin restaurant to close its doors

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In just a matter of weeks, Lone Star Charlie's Restaurant in Lufkin will close their doors after 3 decades of business.

"We enjoy it. We don't want to leave it," said owner, Wade Jabbour.

For Jabbour, the news is heartbreaking.

"It'll be Monday morning, and I get up. And, I don't have to get dressed and come to Charlie's. It'll hit me then," said W. Jabbour.

Jabbour says he's met with commissioners for the past four years, discussing their intentions to buy the land the restaurant sits on. Jabbour says TxDot has highway plans that don't include Charlie's.

"They need this property for building an overpass, and they, eminent domain, they take it," said W. Jabbour.

The restaurant owner and his wife say the state and eminent domain are taking away their livelihood and putting employees out of jobs.

"Eminent domain is just like you take your life away. We brought our kids up here, we brought our grand kids up here," said co-owner Diane Jabbour.

Although they are getting paid for the land, the owners say that money isn't going to replace the good times they shared or the memories they had with customers at Lone Star Charlie's.

"They want the property. They don't want the business," said D. Jabbour.

Truck driver, Cecil Loftin, stops by to eat one last bowl of Charlie's grits. For a decade now, it has been his breakfast stop when passing through on business.

"After working all night and being real hungry coming in, it was nice to get a nice hot cup of coffee and some good food," said Loftin.

The restaurant closes on March 4th at 10 p.m., leaving Loftin to search for someplace new. It's a dilemma he never considered facing.

"Why look for another place when you got the best?" said Loftin.

The owners are looking for a place to build a new smaller restaurant.

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