End of an era
In the late 2000s, a string of proprietors tried to keep a restaurant afloat in the L&S building. Mama Bear’s Country Cooking had a business license following Stephanie’s but closed in 2009. Deano’s had a license in 2010 and 2011, but struggled to make a dent in the Athens barbecue market.
“It was kind of a very bittersweet memory seeing the restaurant gone,” Crabtree said. “I was hoping they would put a Star Market there (in the Foodland building), and I was hoping they wouldn’t tear down that restaurant.
“I know they say a lot of people moved but there are still a lot of people in that area who would walk to the restaurant. Having another restaurant and grocery store could have revitalized that area.”
Williams said the key to revitalization is commercial development and teamwork between city and county officials.
“I think the city and county really needs to work on some type of project there that would tie into economic development and bring some commercial business there,” Williams said. “At one time it was a commercial center … we could do that again.”