Red Lion restaurant razed

Credit: Greg Lynch

Credit: Greg Lynch

A former Warren County restaurant was razed Tuesday as part of an $8.2 million road relocation eliminating the Red Lion-Five Points intersection.

Contractors demolished the former Mom’s Restaurant, taken by the Ohio Department of Transportation for $225,000, to make room for a cul-de-sac, capping a section of Ohio 123 moved 1,200 feet east of the Red Lion town center.

“I can’t imagine going through Red Lion and there’s no Mom’s there,” said Hilda “Mom” Ratliff, who took home three wall blocks to form a memorial centerpiece. “It’s going to be sad, but life goes on.”

Mom’s reopened north of Red Lion, on Ohio 123, in a fuel and convenience store complex, just east of the Interstate 71 interchange. Ratliff and the state settled their eminent domain lawsuit in February, according to court records.

Next Monday, the east-west road comprising the west leg of Ohio 122 and north leg of SR 123 will close for at least four weeks, ODOT officials said.

Traffic will be detoured onto Ohio 741: north into Springboro toward the I-75 interchange at Ohio 73 and south toward the I-75 interchange at Ohio 63. The road will be widened and a traffic signal will be installed where 122 and 123 split just northwest of Red Lion.

The project, designed to solve traffic safety problems around the five-pointed intersection, also opens up about 500 acres, most in farm fields, for residential and commercial development. The road work is to be finished this fall.

For almost 40 years, Mom’s was a well-known eating and meeting place. Farmers congregated around a long “Liars’ Table.” Visitors fastened personalized dollar bills to the ceiling. The small restaurant also was decorated with coffee mugs and University of Kentucky paraphernalia.

“It’s pretty much gone,” said Les Haines, manager at Red Lion Nursery, just north of the intersection. “What can I do? Just get ready for the intersection coming through,” Haines said.

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