Say it isn’t so. We knew the closure of the Luther Chicken Shack was coming, but when I looked left at the corner of Route 66 and Luther Road on my way home from town Thursday, it really hit home. Where were the cars? That parking lot, shared with the gas station, was empty when normally cars overflowed on the sides of the highway on most evenings. Even though I was there Wednesday night when Loose Gravel played the last note of the last song of the last set, and the last pitchers of $5 beer were shared with friends, and the last big crowd in the Shack yard went home, and even when the movers got to work, it was still the Shack in Luther, as it had been for the last six years.
On July 1, that vibe and that business will open officially for the first time in Arcadia, just down the road, benefitting another town’s community and sales tax. A town just a little bit closer to the city, making the drive a little closer for the crowds.
The last night in Luther was a great time. Fans came locally and from afar to hear Matt Cowell and Coach Higdon’s band, Loose Gravel. The lines were long but chill. Extended families met up and friends caught up. The food and the beer ran out, as it should have. The nostalgia was lit as owner Ed Gochenour worked the crowd.
I first met Ed before the Shack opened and when The Luther Register was brand new in 2016. I had been at some meeting either at the Town Board or the School Board, and had been hearing about this guy putting in a broasted chicken place at Jake’s. It was kinda late, but I stopped. Ed was working, building a counter or something, and planning to open soon in the original space that eventually became the order window and extended kitchen. He told me his plans, and even today I remember his vision – to put his restaurant concept on the map, the Route 66 map. That vision has only intensified as we get nearer to the 100th anniversary of the Mother Road in 2026.
Mission accomplished. The short story is The Chicken Shack outgrew Luther. The space, the parking, the potties. The Shack became a true Route 66 destination, putting lots of people to work, drawing lots of visitors here, putting Luther on the map.
All the well-wishes to the Shack Family Restaurants, that also includes the (awesome) Lumber Shack in Harrah. We are expecting the Luther Shack to reopen as another concept, as hinted numerous times. (Burger Shack, Breakfast Shack, Biker Shack, Beer Shack?) For now, the chicken is going to Arcadia!
A look through the Luther Register archives on a Chicken Shack search revealed dozens of stories that showed the Shack’s impact. No doubt, the Town will miss the sales tax revenue, but is working to serve the business community better as the area grows.
From the archives: The Chicken Shack …
- Fed hungry athletes
- Fed teachers
- Fed travelers
- Made Discover Oklahoma show
- Won food contests
- Supported business start-ups
- Fought with the Town Board
- Supported the Town Board
- Fought with the Town board
- Sponsored the Luther Pecan Festival
Thanks for the memories Chicken Shack. We’ll see you in Arcadia!