Oil spill forces popular Montgomery restaurant to close

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a Southern Boulevard staple that comes with a familiar sound--oyster shucking.

But that noise will be hard to come by come October.

"There's just not enough money at the end of the month," says Capitol Oyster Bar Owner, Lewis Mashburn.

Mashburn has owned the restaurant since 1996.  It's a special place for many Montgomerians, including Warner Luckie, whose life was changed here.

"Me and my wife got engaged here...about 8 years ago," says Luckie.

Managers say a full house is unusual these days.

Mashburn believes people are turned off to seafood because of the oil spill and because choice oysters are harder to find.

"I can tell their oysters are different.  They weren't fresh.  I could tell that," adds Luckie.

It's a shock for customers to hear their favorite restaurant is closing.

"When we discuss we're going out to eat, this is the place where we go.  We like the seafood here, we like the atmosphere," says Patti Brown.

But Mashburn says closing is the only option. He's even working two jobs, just to keep the lights on and put food on his own table.

"It's taken a toll.  It's taken a toll on my mind, on my pocketbook," adds Mashburn.

But customers say they'll be here till the end doing what they can to help the oyster bar go out with a bang.

"This is a once or twice a week thing for us, so we'll be back before they close," adds Brown.

Mashburn decided to close next month because many of his restaurant licenses are up for renewal then and he doesn't have the money to pay them.

For now, he's just making the most of the next few weeks, all the while wondering what the future holds.  Mashburn expects to close the first week in October.

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