Gary Lowe has finally found a tract to build a new Shoney’s in Haywood County. In March 2014 his restaurant was taken by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to improve Interchange 104 on US 23-74. Sitting high on a hill with less than straightforward access, the old location was the busiest of seven Shoney’s Lowe operated in the Carolinas, and he had been building a reputation and customer base for 35 years. The DOT offered Lowe $1.6 million as compensation, an amount he challenged in court. While the jury finally agreed to award him $2.2 million six months later, Lowe found that was not enough for land acquisition, site preparation, construction and equipping a new restaurant, especially since he used a significant amount to pay off the mortgage on the old property. After looking at a couple dozen sites, he had concluded all the good properties in Haywood County were already taken. Giving up hope, Lowe decided to sell all the kitchen equipment he had stored. But Lowe said former customers kept calling asking when he would reopen. That, and the fact that no comparable restaurant had since opened in Haywood County, motivated him to risk everything, and purchase 2.5 acres between Lowe’s hardware store and the Junaluska Animal Hospital. Now 75 years old, Lowe plans to open a new 150-seat restaurant in the spring.