LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A well known East Texas business has shut it’s doors for the final time.
‘Dudleys Cajun Cafe’ in Longview had been a longtime familiar site along east Marshall avenue, and a favorite for diners over decades.
People from all over East Texas and neighboring states had come to Dudley’s for years because of it’s outstanding food.
“He had the best fried craw-dad tails I had ever eaten anywhere,” said longtime customer Bill Rice.
Owner Dudley Lang’s loyal following was tempered by his humility.
“We looked at people not just as a customer but really as a friend. We got to know them,” Lang says.
Dudley’s was a model of success, everyone knew about it, and he even expanded to new locations. But it was the unexpected that spelled the end.
“It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Close through no fault from anybody, just because of this pandemic. Our crowd was getting smaller and smaller,” Dudley says.
“It was a big shock to me. I first started buying food from Dudley’s when he was selling boiled crawfish on the side of the road,” said customer Joe Knox.
Monday the doors were closed for good.
Dudley and wife Sheryl announced the closing in a heart-felt message to his customers, addressing everyone as friends.
“By today 24 hours later, we’ve had over a thousand text messages, Facebook messages. I’m really astounded,” he says.
No doubt that his customers will miss him.
“That was the real deal,” Knox says.
“East Texas has been a great place that’s accepted me like a native son,” says Lang.
Dudley says he plans to spend more time with his grandchildren now.
Dudley and Sheryl Lang announced the closing on their restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday night. A statement reads:
To all of our customers and friends of Dudley’s Cajun Cafe:
We regret to inform you that Dudley’s Cajun Cafe will be closing its door as of December 1st. I would like to thank all of you for your friendship and patronage with us for the last 28 years.
This past year has been very difficult and disappointing from a business point of view due to the Pandemic. The government has made it very difficult for small businesses to survive, but I understand the concern people have due to this virus and the effects it can have on their families and loved ones.
I have met a lot of people that I consider friends not just customers. I regret closing the restaurant, but all good things must come to an end. Although we will miss serving this great community, I will be able to spend more time with my family.
Dudley and Sheryl Lang