The Corner Cafe gets new ownership


ELIZABETHTOWN — The Corner Cafe opened under new ownership on Thursday.

Longtime owners Eckie and Shirley Lancaster recently sold the business to Jannet Chuton.

Chuton said that she and her family opened the Tokyo Express, now known as Tokyo Bistro, about six years ago. Chuton said, recently, she dropped by The Corner Cafe and asked Lancaster how business was going. Chuton said he replied that it was good.

“I asked him if he was interested in selling it,” said Chuton.

She said they talked some about it and then Chuton left for a vacation. When she returned from vacation Chuton said she asked Lancaster again about selling the restaurant to her, and she said Lancaster said, “OK.”

The Corner Cafe’s new business hours will be Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. The menu will see minimal changes, said Chuton. She has added prime rib served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights with a choice of two sides for $12.99.

The breakfast menu will still carry pancakes and omelettes, among other items.

Chuton also said there will be a childrens menu and all of the vegetables in the restaurant will be fresh. There will be also be a variety of salads, chicken, beef and fish will be served everyday, said Chuton, with daily lunch specials.

Chuton said her family has been in the restaurant business for about 15 years.

“Daddy opened our first Tokyo Express in Whiteville,” said Chuton.

She said the franchise grew and expanded to have locations in Florence, S.C.; Charlotte; Aberdeen; Conway, S.C.; Clinton and Elizabethtown. Chuton said the family eventually sold many of the locations to various extended family members so they would have a place to work. Currently her husband Selvin Gonzalez operates Tokyo Bistro and her brother, Kafat Chuton, operates Christophers Steak and Seafood.

She said her interest in the restaurant industry comes from her love of cooking.

“I love to cook,” said Chuton.

She added that she enjoys choosing the design for the interior of the restaurants. The interior of The Corner Cafe now has a more eclectic feel with sage green walls and a series of mosaic tile prints adorning one of the walls.

Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.

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