Mystery on MLK: Lamar's Restaurant could be closed for good
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
A Chattanooga staple may be gone for good.
Lamar's restaurant has been a popular spot for decades but since last week, the doors have been closed.
With no word from the owners, many customers worry it won't reopen.
One woman says she hopes it doesn't.
The sign on the front door says "be back at 8".
Loyal customers say that sign has been there a while.
This past weekend, Lamar's was empty.
"I'm shocked that they're closed," Nicholas Tillison said.
Customers are left in the dark, hoping the restaurant known for its unique atmosphere, fried chicken and velvet-lined walls will reopen.
"It's pretty sad. I mean, it's been here as long as I can remember and it's, I don't know, I guess a staple of the community," Kyle Hixson said.
Customers say it hasn't been open in at least a week.
The number listed for the restaurant is now disconnected.
The county website shows it hasn't sold.
Our attempts to reach the owners weren't successful.
"I hope they reopen eventually," Tillison said.
While it's a bar and restaurant many will miss, Catrina Cabe says a lot has happened on the other side of the building many don't know about.
Lamar's used to also be a motel.
"You wouldn't even know it was open unless you knew to come around and beat on the door to be let in," Cabe said.
Cabe is a reformed prostitute.
She says she brought men to the motel.
"You would take him in and walk the entire length of the building there down to the office and have him fill out a card and pay his $20 for the room and that was for the hour," Cabe said.
Catrina Cabe says that is what she remembers from when she frequented Lamar's more than 6 years ago.
Whether what she says happened there continued, we don't know.
We reached out to the owners several times before airing this story.
As of Wednesday evening, we hadn't heard back.
City records show the owners are behind on property taxes.
For the past two years, they owe more than 5 thousand dollars.
Cabe created the ministry called "Cry for the Broken".
She works to get other women out of the prostitution.