With only a few days left before Laney’s Fish Camp closes forever, owners Larry and Mickey Laney are reminiscing with customers and employees and trying to make sure they have enough food for the last round of diners.Laney’s will close for the final time at 9:30 p.m. March 30 after 47 years in the same location on Charlotte Highway/U.S. 21.Over the years, the fish camp – loosely defined as a rustic restaurant that serves fried catfish, hushpuppies and slaw – has developed a reputation for consistently good food at reasonable prices.The news about Laney’s closing spread quickly around the Lake Norman area after a Facebook posting March 4 in which the Laneys wrote, “To ALL of our friends and wonderful customers. … The time has come for us to take a break. 47 years is a long time to cook fish. “We have been truly blessed over the years with all the wonderful people we have met and who have supported us.”Larry Laney, who opened the restaurant with his dad in 1965, said closing the restaurant has been under consideration for some time. “The area demographics have changed, and you can now get fish in many locations,” he said. “However, the biggest reason is that I had some health issues during the past few years, and while they were resolved successfully, it served as a wake-up call to me that is was time to let go.”Laney, of Mooresville, will turn 65 on March 25. He and his two brothers, Mickey and Scott, have operated the family-oriented business. “We treat our customers and workers as if they were part of our family, and I believe that’s been a big factor in our success and longevity,” Larry Laney saidTo drive home that point, he noted that since word of the closing got out, several former employees contacted him and said they would come back and work for nothing if it would help keep the fish camp open.Laney’s customers have fond memories of the fish camp. “Back in the ’70s and ’80s, there were very few places to go for fish,” said Sue Beard of Cornelius. “Laney’s fried fish and hush puppies were awesome. For us Southerners, iced tea was the beverage of choice, and the ladies who served never let your glass get empty.”On Friday and Saturday nights, Beard said, the wait time for a table often was an hour, and the people would just hang out in the parking lot talking to friends and waiting for their names to be called over the speaker. “It was literally a social event,” she said.Even though it could have increased profits, Laney’s has never served alcohol and was always closed Sundays. “When my dad opened up the restaurant in 1965, those were two commitments (that) he made, and we’ve always honored them.” So what has been the customer favorite at Laney’s? “Filet of flounder, served with onion rings and tartar sauce, and all homemade,” Laney said. Over the years, the Laneys took only one week off each year, usually Labor Day Week, when the Iredell County Fair takes place in Troutman. With lots of time on their hands after April 1, what will they do now?“The time has come for us to spend time with our families. We thank our loyal customers and workers for their devotion to our business.”
Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013
Laney’s Fish Camp in Mooresville prepares for final week
This familiar sign on U.S. 21 will be a part of Mooresville history at the end of the month, when the Laneys close their restaurant after 47 years of business. DAVE VIESER
Thousands of satisfied diners enjoyed fish over the past 47 years in this unassuming building, which housed Laney's Fish Camp in Mooresville. DAVE VIESER
Brothers Larry, left, and Mickey Laney are co-owners of Laney's Fish Camp. Family photos fill the walls. 2011 OBSERVER FILE PHOTO
More information Want to go? Laney’s Fish Camp will be open 3-9 p.m. March 27-28 and 3-9:30 p.m. March 29-30 at 2118 Charlotte Highway (U.S. 21), Mooresville. Because of expected turnout, they ask groups of eight or more to call ahead at 704-664-2184 so the staff can prepare tables.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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