UPDATE: A popular Chattanooga restaurant is closing its doors for good.

Mt. Vernon restaurant announced Wednesday it is closing after serving customers for more than 60 years.

The restaurant was usually bustling with customers, many of them who visited the restaurant frequently.

"I eat here 2 or 3 times a week," Lurone Jennings said as he drove up to the restaurant.

Jennings said the restaurant had more than just great food.

“It's a great meeting place," Jennings said. "You meet people from all walks of life; you get great food. You talk over business."

"Well it's been a Chattanooga institution," echoed the Bahmer family, who was also stopping by hoping to get lunch.

Despite the welcome signs still lining the street, as visitors walked up to the door they saw a sign announcing the closing.

"Wow, I'm blown away," Jennings said.

The owners said they are closing due to family illness.

Many customers said they hope the family is okay, but they are sad to see the restaurant go.

"I'll tell ya, I've enjoyed the good food and services they've provided over the years,” Jennings said. “Mt. Vernon, that's the spot. Matter of fact, a lot of people say this is my second office!”

There was even a couple from Florida, who were hoping to stop by and try the food on their drive back. They said the restaurant came highly recommended by friends.

"He said they enjoyed it and that's the reason we wanted to come,” Billy Russell said, “but we can't."

The restaurant opened in 1955.


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A representative of the Mt. Vernon restaurant said the closing was due to a family illness. The restaurant, at 3535 Broad Street, has been owned and operated by Jeff and Cindy Messinger for many years. Longtime WDEF radio personality Luther Masingill announced the daily special menu on his program for many years, and was among the restaurant's regular diners.  It was also a popular gathering place for local business leaders and government officials, as well as tourists visiting nearby Lookout Mountain attractions.

The restaurant opened in 1955, and specialized in Southern comfort food, and homemade desserts, like amaretto cream pie.

The restaurant closed its doors for good on December 23.