Popular veteran's cafe closing down

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After less than three years in Myrtle Beach, the Veteran's Cafe and Grille is closing its doors after the property was foreclosed on and sold off by the bank.

Lou Mascherino and his wife Rhonda opened Veteran's Cafe and Grille back on Veteran's Day 2009 to give vets a place of their own. Veterans venture in for a bite to eat, but stay for the comradery. The walls are lined with hundreds of pieces of military service memorabilia, and many say the place is therapeutic.

"We get around and talk with the other veterans and tell war stories," says Troy Hucks, a frequent customer. "It's like a family."

It's a family that by the end of next month could be divided. The owner of the building foreclosed on it over a year ago. Just last month, the Mascherinos learned the bank sold the place, and they now have to go.

"It was devastating, and they didn't give us a whole lot of time," says owner Rhonda Mascherino. "They came in here January 31st and told us you're out of here by March 31st," she says.

Now the couple will be packing up all the memorabilia, all donated by customers, and sending it back to them if they can't find a new place. They want to stay near the V. A. but say financially, that might night be possible.  The diner hasn't made them a huge profit, and in fact, the restaurant often raises money for veteran causes.

The place has become a staple in the community and closing down isn't sitting well with patrons. The mission now is finding a new spot that veterans can once again call their own.

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