Jim and Ellen Latchaw have owned Midway Point for eight of the bar's 37 years. (Photo by Lauren Law)

Jim and Ellen Latchaw have owned Midway Point for eight of the bar’s 37 years. (Photo by Lauren Law)

Editor’s Note: Lauren Law writes a column for the Advocate and submitted this personal piece on the closure of Midway Point, which closed its location at 12801 Midway last week, but will reopen at 14831 Midway in the coming weeks, next to Ferrari’s Italian Villa. The opinions included belong to the author and not the Advocate. 

I was late to the party but I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

As I was filling my car with gas at Walmart near LBJ and Midway April 13, I peered over to the east and looked at the building that was soon to see major changes. Big business was at play yet once again in our neighborhood, and all the small businesses in this shopping center would soon be gone, replaced by some new redevelopment of the building. It was then that I realized this was the last night that 37-year old Midway Point would be open.

Since I’d never stepped foot in the place (and I’m not sure why), I decided to stop in to see if what I’d been hearing all week on Nextdoor.com was true. Voted best bar 2015 by the readers of this publication, Midway Point has been described as our neighborhood Cheers and when I walked in the doors I could see why.

The place was packed—all tables were full and long-timers were crowded around the bar. I scanned around to see if I recognized anyone and I saw an acquaintance from the YMCA having a cold one. I told him that this would be my first and last visit to Midway Point—he was shocked I’d never been before. A few minutes later several teachers from my son’s school walked up and they, too, couldn’t believe this was my first time at this long standing establishment.

After sitting down to chat a while, I looked behind one of them and saw my friend, Annette, who is a regular in my Pilates class, and apparently a regular customer. She introduced me to the people in her Culture Club who have been meeting at Midway Point every Wednesday for the last 10 years. If that’s not loyalty for this place, I don’t know what is.

I was really liking the vibe and I was starting to regret that I’d never experienced this small, hometown-kind-of-a place before. A few minutes later the friendly waitresses began passing out champagne glasses. The owners, Ellen and Jim Latchaw wanted to make a last toast to their loyal patrons, who, after all these years, had become friends.

The Latchaws bought Midway Point eight years ago from Mary Ryles, the original owner. Jim told me that she interviewed them to make sure that they would continue to run Midway Point in the same way she had the previous 29 years.

While the couple is sad they lost their lease, they plan to continue Midway Point in another location less than two miles up the road to the north and are hoping to be open within about 45 days. Long time fans of Midway Point will be pleased to know that they will continue steak night on Mondays, with catfish on the first and third Wednesdays of the month and Enchilada Fridays. They even plan to bring back some of the same staff and will keep as much of the original décor as possible.

Apparently Midway Point is a force to be reckoned with. They have proven again and again that they can survive just about anything including the no smoking city ordinance, the five-year construction of LBJ, the building of Walmart to the west and now the sale of the land and redevelopment of the building.

I was happy I took time out of my day to explore this little bit of history in Preston Hollow before it was gone. With everyone in unison I tipped my champagne glass and said “cheers” in celebration of this local place of comfort, friendship and fun. I know my family and I will become loyal patrons of the new Midway Point once it reopens.

 


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