Marion restaurant owners provide free lunches despite losing home in hurricane
MARION, S.C. – Magnolias on Main Restaurant owners Dolgun and Karen Dervish lost their home for a second time as a result of flooding from a hurricane this past weekend. However, the couple spent the past two days serving more than 150 free lunches to hurricane victims in the community.
“We know the pain of people losing their home,” Dolgun Dervish said. “We thought about other people that do not have electricity or means to cook, and we know what they’re going through. We have a restaurant and could do this.”
Karen Dervish said the couple still can’t get to their home in Marion near Catfish Creek, so they wanted to do something good with their time.
It took the Dervish family nearly two years since Hurricane Matthew to repair their home, and they said they were 95 percent complete before Hurricane Florence struck.
“It’s a very major loss,” she said.
Hurricane Matthew also damaged their buffet restaurant on Main Street in Marion.
“We lost the buffet to Matthew, and after we were pretty much done with our home, we renovated in here to do a smaller restaurant and have been here since February,” Karen Dervish said.
Magnolias transitioned to serving a popular gyro along with a variety of soups, salads and daily specials.
“It was closed for just about two years, and we just opened,” Dolgun Dervish said, adding they took precautions ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, including sandbags. Despite opening for business back in 2006 and moving to a bigger restaurant in 2011, the Dervish family closed indefinitely Tuesday.
Dolgun Dervish, 72, said it was easier operating a smaller restaurant but had to close to focus on their home and save what they can.
“We may reopen maybe, but we just don’t know,” Karen Dervish said. “It’s all in God’s hands.”
Costumer Daniel Young stopped by for a plate and said he will miss Magnolias.
“He is a good man, and what he is doing for the community is helping a lot of people out,” Young said. “I loved their gyros. I ate here about three times a week. I’m going to miss it really bad.”
Karen Dervish said it was a good experience at home before the storm damage.
“It was heaven there,” she said. “We made it a home. Unfortunately it wasn’t in God’s plan for us to stay. We were just devastated to have another storm hit, but we will be OK. We’re resilient people, and God has our back.”
Serving others during a tough time helped the Dervish family in their own recovery process.
“I feel terrific,” Dolgun Dervish said. “We might open again. You never know.”