SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – After being known in the Shepherdstown community for 38 years, the Yellow Brick Bank restaurant is saying goodbye.
Ken Lowe, owner of the YBB building, said that while his family will still own the building, a new tenant has rented the restaurant and will take over the space starting in January.
“The restaurant is not necessarily closing its doors; it’s changing directions. It’s going to be a newer restaurant with different cuisine,” Lowe said.
The Lowe family has owned and managed the YBB since 2005. In addition to the restaurant, the family also manages several other properties around the Eastern Panhandle, including the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown.
Mary Lowe, a co-owner of the restaurant, said several factors went into the decision to rent the property.
“Economically – all of the businesses in Shepherdstown have struggled through the years. Everything has had to work that much harder,” Mary said. “The restaurant was doing fine. We just felt like it was time to make a change.”
The new restaurant will not keep the YBB name or staff, Mary Lowe said.
She said it wasn’t an easy decision to make with all the history captured between the restaurant’s walls.
“It’s bittersweet. It makes me sad and it makes me happy. I’m happy to move on and I’m sad to think about the traditions that have been here for 38 years,” she said. “People get engaged here, they have anniversaries here, and their birthdays here.”
Mary Lowe talked about one couple who have been sharing their Christmas holiday tradition for almost 20 years at the YBB.
“We had one couple who made reservations just the other day to sit by the Christmas tree and come to find out it was their 17th year doing that,” she said. “They said ‘we’ll be back next year, and I couldn’t tell them yet.”
Commenters on the restaurant’s Facebook page shared their feelings Monday, posting memories of getting engaged there and visiting the restaurant during anniversaries and social gatherings.
Dan Anderson, a real estate agent from GreenTree Realty in Shepherdstown, said he was not surprised that the restaurant was changing hands.
“Change is inevitable,” Anderson said. “Restaurants normally don’t last 25 to 30 years. The Yellow Brick Bank became an exception to the rule.”
Anderson said he first came to Shepherdstown two years after the YBB opened and is familiar with the Lowe family.
Housed in the former Jefferson Security Bank building, the YBB has been a staple in the community since 1976. The historic building, known for its artistic design and classic dining, was recognized by renowned figures such as Nancy Reagan.
Despite losing the restaurant within the town, Anderson said he was excited about the new transition.
“I know the locals will support it if it’s good,” Anderson said.
To celebrate the YBB’s long tenure within the community, the restaurant will be hosting a farewell party on New Year’s Eve.
Ken Lowe said he is proud at the time spent at the YBB and will be happy to work with the new tenants in the future.
“We are looking forward to it. We are excited to move ahead,” he said.