Thanksgiving weekend will be the final time Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile in Santee will operate under its founder and owner, Pat Williams.
The restaurant, housed in four old plantation commissaries or country stores that were moved to their …
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The restaurant, housed in four old plantation commissaries or country stores that were moved to their present site on Santee State Park Road in the summer of 2001, will change ownership from Williams to two families from the Elloree community.
Calvin and Susan Strock are farmers and owners of a trucking company, and Ed Shuler and Shirley Toth own and manage Santee General Store in Santee.
"I am extremely pleased that local families are buying Lone Star," Williams said. "They plan to run the business in much the same fashion as [my son] Chris and I have, with barbecue buffet, buildings filled with antiques and collectibles and even the live bluegrass and country music entertainment."
Since Williams opened the restaurant, guests from all 50 states and 50 foreign countries have dined there, Williams said. Numerous newspapers, magazines, TV reality shows and celebrities have written about or paid homage to the historic establishment.
Shortly after opening, his son and the restaurant's chef, Chris Williams, took over the daily management and cooking responsibilities. Both plan to remain in the Santee area, Williams said, with Chris continuing his real estate career and Pat in diversified business interests.
During the final weekend of their ownership, Chris Williams plans to spruce up the buffet, and several popular bands will be performing tonight, Saturday and Sunday.
"Hopefully, a lot of our friends will come out and visit before the changing of the guard," Chris Williams said.
Pat Williams said his wife asked if he will shed a tear when he turns the keys over to the new owners.
"I told her I just might, as it has been a good, fun-filled 17 1/2 years," he said. "However, I know it is time for me to step aside."
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