John Staton has fulfilled his destiny by returning to his hometown of Lebanon and reopening a favorite restaurant from his childhood -- the Sugar Bowl.
Staton, now 72, had his first date at the Sugar Bowl in 1955 at age 13. He moved from Lebanon that year and has since traveled all over the country, living in places like California, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire. But something was tugging at his heart to return home.
"I believe the Lord brought me back here. We had a destiny to come back here," Staton said. "I had been looking for a safe haven basically, where I can have my family and we can have a business. I thought for sure it was going to be in North Carolina or Florida, a warmer climate. But the Lord put it in my head to come home and open the Sugar Bowl."
It was a tough sell for his wife, Leslie, who is from New York City. It took her about three months to come around to the idea. She said John had wanted to open a restaurant the entire length of their 17-year marriage.
"I said, 'Where? You want to go where?'" she said with a laugh. "I'm from New York, OK? Water? We're going where, honey? The country? It's landlocked. Really?"
Being the businessman he is -- his background includes experience in construction management and restaurants -- Staton wrote his wife a business plan. They decided to take on his dream, moved to Indiana, and purchased the Sugar Bowl building in May 2013.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.