After they were forced to close their doors at the Lighthouse Restaurant July 31, Reuben and Mary Shackleford are back in business in a new location.
"It was a lot of work and it was every day," said Reuben. "There was nothing in here."
For 27 years the Shacklefords operated the Lighthouse Restaurant in the Shoreline Village Mall, before the properties developers didn't renew their lease.
The couple immediately began the search for a new location, which lead them to their new home in the Downtown Destin Shopping Center, situated next to Old Time Pottery and Lively Cinema 10.
While its nowhere near as big as the old location, the new Lighthouse is spacious, boasts a bar and the walls are adorned with old favorites. Instead of 320 seats, Reuben says they now have 150, plus there is room for about 60 more on the outside patio that will be fixed up.
In addition to a change of location, Reuben and Mary's son Dallas is revamping the restaurant's menu and putting more of an emphasis on fresh local seafood. Dallas told The Log that he makes almost daily stops at Harbor Docks and Sexton's to pick up fish for the night's dinner service.
"We're doing wahoo and scamp right now," he said. “It's really a lot of fun when you have people complimenting you on your food."
As part of the restaurant's change, Reuben said they have reduced a lot of their price points. He said they would no longer be offering the half-priced specials they once did, but lower prices on some items equal out.
The Lighthouse Restaurant, which has become a snowbird staple over the years, is located at 757 Hwy. 98 W. in the heart of Destin, and can be reached at 850-654-2828. They are open from 4:30 - 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Despite some of the uncertainty that the Shacklefords faced before the move, they wore smiles on their faces as they walked around their new restaurant.
"It's a fresh start here and we are extremely grateful for that," Mary said. "We have a restaurant, we have our customers and we have each other."