Owners of Leo and Ken’s unsure of what the future holds after fire

Leo and Ken's closes after fire.
Leo and Ken's closes after fire.(KSWO)
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 9:32 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Visited by many generations and known as a staple in the Lawton community, Leo and Kens is closed until further notice by a fire that swept through the entire restaurant Tuesday.

“So we’ve been shutting down by 8:30 p.m. since COVID happened and my brother had shut everything down and did a walk through that night. We got home and it was about 9:40 p.m. when he called me and said the restaurants on fire,” said co-owner Dustin “Tiny” Rhoades.

Rhoades said luckily the fire department was nearby and him and his family are appreciative of how active the department was at trying to save what they could.

“It’s surreal. My bother is in shock, I’m in shock, the whole family. We’ve come down here, I don’t know how many different times. I’ve been down here every week of my life. I can’t do that tomorrow, I can’t do that next week.”

He said Leo and Ken’s has been here for at least 60 years, and the amount of support received from the situation is unimaginable.

“It means a lot to me and my family that we weren’t just a place to get a hamburger,” said Tiny. “We were a place where people had their first date, or come after church. It’s hard to think that it may not happen again.”

7News spoke with several people about their time visiting Leo and Kens. They all said this place has been a staple in the Lawton community for as long as they can remember, and they hope the restaurant gets back up and running sooner than later.

“I’ve known this really not to just be a location to go ahead and have something good and clean to go ahead and eat at, but really a popular Lawton, iconic venue,” said John Kley, a frequent customer. “It’s tragic in the sense as part of our good Lawton culture. My personal thoughts are hopefully they’ll go ahead and rebuild but you never know what may happen during these times.”

For now, the windows are boarded up, and Rhoades said their starting the insurance process, but has no idea what the future is going to hold for his families legacy.

“The amount of out-pouring and support we’ve gotten from the Lawton community has been humbling and overwhelming, and I cannot express how much that means to me and my family during literally our darkest hour,” said Tiny. “As my dad said, ‘Lord willing and the creek don’t rise we’ll see them again real soon.”

Officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but you can count on your 7News team to bring you updates as they come in.