File photo/The Herald-Dispatch Rebuilt after a spectacular 1969 fire, Thabit’s Restaurant closed in 2007.

Editor's note: This is the 234th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — In 1914, Mike Thabit, who came to the United States from Lebanon, opened a small restaurant on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 8th Street in downtown Huntington. A few years later, he moved to larger quarters on 8th Street where he operated the Aster Restaurant and Candy Co., selling a variety of homemade candies. In 1946, the Aster Restaurant moved to 1117 4th Ave. and became Thabit's Restaurant.

For more than 60 years, Thabit's would be a landmark eatery in Huntington. Years passed and times changed, but Thabit's didn't. Instead it kept right on doing what it had always done - serving tasty homemade meals at reasonable prices and, in the process, attracting a loyal band of customers. A group of attorneys, downtown business people and others regularly gathered at their favorite table at Thabit's to enjoy their lunch and talk over the events of the day.

When the building burned in a spectacular fire in 1969, the Thabit family rebuilt, but made sure the new restaurant retained the 1950s look that was a big part of its charm.

For years, Lanese Thabit worked alongside her husband. In a 1999 interview, she shared the secret to the restaurant's long-running success: "We cater to customers just like a family would. If their food isn't right, I tell them to send it back. I want to give customers what they want."

Daughter Andrea Thabit was born into the business and began working at the restaurant full-time shortly before her father's death. Her brother Louis helped her out from time to time. In 2007, she decided it was time to retire, and so the doors at Thabit's were closed for the last time.


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