After more than four decades, the restaurant at the Duke Travel Plaza (known as the Duke Family Restaurant) in Newcomerstown closed its doors to the public at the close of business (10 p.m.) Friday, June 10.

Ed Stephens, vice president of Englefield Oil Co., which operates the truck stop located at the intersection of Interstate 77 and U.S. 36, said the reason behind closing the restaurant was due simply to economics.

"Things have changed dramatically over the years and at some point we had to make a decision," Stephens said. "Unfortunately, it was to close the restaurant."

The restaurant opened in Newcomerstown in 1971 and had many longtime employees, according to Stephens. A total of 13 employees were, unfortunately, let go because there were no other openings within the truck stop. He said that is what made the decision to close the restaurant even harder.

"It was not an easy decision," he said.

He said all other aspects of the travel plaza will continue to operate including the convenience store, selling gasoline and diesel fuel, being a deer check station, etc.