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Turning the light off; after nearly five decades a Monroe County business is closing its doors

The Lamp Post restaurant building is set to be sold
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 3:19 PM EDT
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MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - For almost five decades, the Lamp Post restaurant has been a central location for people to gather in Monroe County.

“This is a landmark, I mean the Lamp Post is a landmark for Madisonville, everyone knows where the Lamp Post is,” said Freida Reed who has been eating at the restaurant since it opened. Reed is not the only one with memories to last a lifetime.

“It’s a family atmosphere to start with because it’s been run by family, forever,” said Susan Saunders.

Lamp Post has been run by a member of Jeff Roberts’s family, or himself since the 1970′s.

Roberts was told this week that the building his family has rented for years is being sold.

Owner Jeff Roberts posted this sign on the door letting customers know the restaurant is closing.
Owner Jeff Roberts posted this sign on the door letting customers know the restaurant is closing.(WVLT)

“I tried every way in the world to keep it going,” said Roberts standing across the street from his restaurant.

Following a series of deaths, the owners of this building, who do not live in East Tennessee, have decided they no longer want the responsibility of owning the building.

Roberts tried to buy the building but says things just didn’t work out. Now, he is reflecting on years of his life, and time his family’s spent at the location.

“It’s just been a great experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” said Roberts.

In his interview, he fought back tears, saying after the camera stopped rolling he ‘knew it would happen’ but, he wasn’t the only one.

“About heartbroken, almost in tears,” said Charlotte Carter, fighting back tears of her own.

On a Thursday night in the middle of a pandemic, the building was packed, a testament to the legacy of a place many call home.

“Everything is just perfect here,” said Athel Baker a long time customer.

For people like Baker, Saunders, Reed, and Carter, they’re left to turn to look for another restaurant to spend their time at.

When customers exit the restaurant they're thanked one final time.
When customers exit the restaurant they're thanked one final time.(WVLT)

“I don’t know where we’ll go to. Maybe they’ll open it back up somewhere else, I don’t know,” said Baker.

But one, that may not carry the memories and friendly faces of the Lamp Post.

“Because you create family when you create a smaller place like this. The people working here they become family and that’s what it is all about,” said Reed.

“It’s good, the food is good, the people is (sic) so good, so friendly, nice, love everybody, show us pictures of their children and so on,” added Carter.

For Roberts, his work is not nearly over.

“I haven’t even had time to process it yet,” said Roberts. “You know, there’s a list that’s an arm long that you got to deal with so that’s my main concern first.”

This owner has to close his doors this coming Saturday eventually, but when asked when it will close, his answer is when ‘there’s no one left'.

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