Although the menu items are tasty and the ambiance comfortable and ideal for a quiet lunch or dinner, these are only two of the reasons patrons, including Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton, have put the restaurant on their “must visit” list after eating there only once.
However, despite its food and popular Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the name of the restaurant should be perhaps the single biggest drawing card as it honors a true American hometown hero in the war on terrorism.
The owners, El’Dawn and Stephanie Taylor, named their restaurant after their nephew, Navy Signalman Seaman Cherone Gunn, who was killed on Oct. 12, 2000 when the ship he was on, the USS Cole, was docked in a Yemen harbor for refueling.
As it was being refueled, a small craft, loaded with an estimated 400 to 700 pounds of explosives, sped by the docked ship and those on board the small craft detonated the explosives.
The explosion tore a huge 40 by 40-foot hole in the side of the USS Cole. At that moment, sailors, including Gunn, were inside the ship in the area of the explosion.
Gunn, who was 22 and had lived with the Taylors in Rex for approximately a year before entering the Navy, was killed along with 16 other sailors while another 39 were injured in the blast.
Shortly thereafter, the terrorist group al-Queda, headed by Osama bin Laden who had masterminded the attack, claimed responsibility for what is still the deadliest attack on a U.S. Naval vessel since the 1987 Iraqi attack on the USS Stark.
Gunn was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Although it took the Taylors more than two years to recover from their nephew’s death, they realized that life must go on but wanted to honor Cherone’s memory as well.
“We finally got ourselves together and, as my wife and I both have a passion for food, we decided to open the restaurant and name it after Cherone,” Taylor said.
“What a better place to open a restaurant honoring Cherone than in Rex, an area he came to love after he moved in with us,” he added, explaining that his nephew loved children and was a popular youth baseball coach in Rex