EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — When is a cafe more than just a place to grab a quick bite?
When it becomes a military museum and gathering spot for veterans.

On this week’s Veterans Voices, a southern joint has given the community more than just good burgers and BLT sandwiches, it’s given them a home.

Lou and Rhonda Mascherino celebrated the opening of their new restaurant, Veterans Cafe and Grille, on Veteran’s Day 2009.
Since then this quaint spot has turned into a type of military museum with hundreds of pieces of military memorabilia on the wall, from uniforms and newspaper articles to photographs and flags.

“Everyone on these walls has proven how big of a hero they are to this country,” said Lou Mascherino, Owner, Veterans Cafe & Grill.

“We’re not here just for the veterans. We’re here for the whole community,” Mascherino said. “It’s their place to come. It’s their home away from home. They come here, they talk. They meet with other veterans, swap war stories.”

But the cafe has also become a charitable staple for this South Carolina Community, donating tens of thousands of dollars to a local veterans resource center. They’ve also given thousands to make sure no veteran goes hungry.

During COVID, the cafe shut down for two months, then Lou battled health issues and many say it left a big void.

“For me, and probably everyone else, it’s just like missing a part of your soul. They don’t quit, they keep on going,” said Kris Tourtellotte, Veteran.

But each time the cafe faced a crisis, the community helped it get back on its feet. Proof that what happens here stretches far beyond a bite to eat and friendly conversation.

The Veterans Cafe has donated more than $130,000 dollars to veterans organizations.