IOTA, La. (KLFY) — A fire Tuesday destroyed a beloved restaurant in Iota that’s been serving po’boys for over half a century, and residents say the building has a long history, even before it was the Snack Shak.
“I got a call, and they said, ‘What happened at the Snack Shak?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ So we come by and that’s when we saw the damage,” Raleigh Miller remembered.
For the last 20 years, Miller and his pals have started their days off at the Snack Shak, drinking their morning coffee.
“We sit at the last table in the back by the wall. We call it the old guys table. We have another name for it, but I can’t tell you the name because it’s not too kosher,” Miller said. “We solve the world problems and talk about politics and tell lies.”
The restaurant has been serving po’ boys and hamburgers since the 1950’s, but now the Snack Shak is filled with nothing but debris and charred wood.
The fire spared nothing inside, not even Miller’s favorite table.
Even before it was the Snack Shak though, Miller says this place was the center of town.
“I remember it was the late 1930s, and it was a dance hall. They would have dance every Saturday night, and the bar was right here across the street, the saloon,” Miller recalled.
Even over half a century ago, it was a special place for him.
“The first dance hall was here, you know. Most people didn’t even have cars. We didn’t have a car until I was six years old. We came in wagons or the buggy,” he told News Ten.
Since then, Miller has seen it go from a dance hall to a school house for veterans to an ice cream shop and now, a po’ boy joint known as the Snack Shak.
“We miss it already. It’s all we’ve got here in Iota,” another resident said.
The owner says she is rebuilding the Snack Shak, and Miller and his pals say they can’t wait to have their morning coffee there again.
A flower shop next door to the Snack Shak called Sassafras is having a barbecue fundraiser for the next three Saturdays.
The money raised will go to the Snack Shak employees to help them get by and help the owners rebuild the restaurant.