The recession, gas prices, the inflated cost of supplies and other factors have impacted many businesses, including the downtown Fayetteville restaurant O’Houlihan’s which will close at month’s end.
Before getting into the restaurant business, Don Haynes was personnel manager at Wiley Laboratory in Huntsville, Ala.
As a retirement project, he bought the huge brick building at the corner of East Market Street and Main Avenue South in 1991, when it was still Moore’s Grocery.
“Mr. Moore closed in the spring of 1992,” said Haynes. “He rented from me a little while.”
Haynes, and his wife, Marie Houlihan Haynes, who passed away in January 2011, went about the arduous task of renovating the business and decided to open a restaurant. O’Houlihan’s opened in the fall of 1994.
Haynes printed the first menu on his home computer, he said. Customers have been drawn to the foods he selected to serve, which are ones that he personally likes. The restaurant became known for its classic sandwiches, such as the Reuben, Philly Steak, pastrami and fruity chicken salad, to name a few. Other specialty items included white chicken chili and cream of broccoli soup, as well as fruit tea.
Over the past 12 years, he’s had many steady employees. His wife also worked in the restaurant on the weekends, in addition to working in Huntsville during the week.
“I like being with people and providing a service people like,” Haynes said of the things he enjoyed most about the business.
“I’ve enjoyed their companionship and their patronage,” he added.
“Many loyal customers came in every day – what kept it going was outside tourists,” he said.
Since the recession, he said, he hasn’t been getting as many customers from Huntsville and Nashville.
Jan. 31 will be the restaurant’s last day of business.