King’s Tavern closes its doors

Published 12:02 am Sunday, February 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — Saturday the doors of the King’s Tavern closed for good.

Those same doors have been inviting guests to eat at its restaurant for 45 years.

And the building — the oldest in the state — has been standing for 243 years dating back to when it was an outpost along the Natchez Trace.

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Owner Shawyn Mars said he and co-owner Thom Miller have owned the restaurant for seven years, and the poor economy hit them hard in recent years.

“The economy (has been) so bad, people are (ordering from) the $1 menu at McDonalds and not supporting local restaurants,” Mars said.

“It’s a shame because we had good food.”

Mars, who worked inside the tavern Saturday behind locked doors and a “Business closed” sign, said he and Miller filed for bankruptcy in September in an effort to stay open.

“We tried to keep the business open,’ Mars said.

Miller was recently admitted to a hospital intensive care unit for heart problems, making the struggle worse, Mars said.

“We just can’t do it any longer,” he said.

Mars said ties to Natchez, like his involvement with the Trinity Episcopal Church choir, have him hoping they can continue to live here.

“But there’s no jobs here; we may have to go to New Orleans to find a job,” Mars said.

He said he has lived in both New Orleans and Natchez for several years, but Natchez has been his main residency since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Mars said he is not sure what he and Miller will be doing following the closure, but he wanted to thank those who have supported the King’s Tavern.

“Thank you for coming out and supporting us,” he said.

“We wish we could have made it.”