SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The Farm Table Restaurant in South Charleston has closed and the building and equipment are for sale.
Mary Cole, who owned the restaurant with her husband, Ron, said the family couldn't pay as much attention to the business as needed after Mary's brother died in 2008 and the Coles' son became ill and died in 2009.
"I want to thank all of our patrons over the many years for their support," Mary said Monday in a darkened, empty dining room. The restaurant was shuttered on Thursday.
"It's like a death in the family," Mary said. "I don't feel like a failure but I have beat myself up pretty bad the last three years because I would come in and see things that needed done but we couldn't do them. We tried to stay open but were just going deeper in debt. I'm absolutely confident this could be a success in the hands of people who have the time to devote to it."
The $339,500 asking price includes the 4,200-square-foot building and all the equipment and fixtures "as is," plus a two-story rented house at the rear of the property. Tim Runyan, broker with Century 21 - Runyan & Associates of South Charleston, has the listing.
Mary said that during the restaurant's 26-year-run it served many celebrities, such as Rod Stewart, Kathy Mattea and Rick K. & the Allnighters - plus dozens of famous singers from the
'50s and '60s.
The restaurant was one of the city's most important social centers.
Customer Steve Hyre was saddened Monday when he walked up to the front door and saw the hand-written sign, "Closed until further notice!"
Hyre said he used to work just down the street and came into the Farm Table at least three times a week. The office moved but "I still grab a friend and stop by once a week," he said. "This is tough. It will be missed by a lot of people."
Asked if he was a member of the Farm Table's famous Liars' Table, Hyre said, "I applied for membership but they wouldn't let me in. They said I was over-qualified."
Mary said the restaurant never turned hungry people away, even if a customer couldn't pay. Just like the Country Junction Restaurant Mary's mother once operated on the West Side, "we always fed the hungry," Mary said. "Money wasn't important to me."