Thanks to Living Christian Church, the former Pushnik’s Diner has a new vocation
A once popular nightclub and restaurant are now used as a place of worship.
And, once the renovations are complete, all that will remain of this well-known company will be memories.
Six months ago, Living Christian Church Ministries purchased the old Pushnik’s Diner and Waterfall, more recently known as Marabelle’s Restaurant, for $ 240,000. Shortly after a worship space was dug into the building at 1352 Cumberland Street, the predominantly Hispanic congregation began to hold services there.
“I don’t know the history of the building,” said Luis Hernandez, pastor of Living Christian Church. “I spoke to the last owner, who had Marabelle’s Diner and Catering. I know that in the 1980s there were floods. But I really don’t know anything else about it.
Over the past eight years, the 138-member church has held worship services at 370 N. Seventh St., but it has grown too small for its modest surroundings.
For Living Christian Church, the move to the more spacious building on West Cumberland Street is designed to better serve its congregation and the local Hispanic community.
“We moved because we needed a bigger place,” said Hernandez, a 49-year-old resident of southern Lebanon from Puerto Rico. “There is more parking there. Our church is growing. We wanted a place where we can grow together. We have rented. We wanted a place where we can do activities for men and women. Now we can have 300 people, 400 people.
“We looked around. We did the tour, ”he added. “For us, it was the best solution.”
Although parts of the building appeared to have gone without maintenance for some time, Hernandez and members of the congregation were able to identify a part of the building that was least affected by wear and tear, renovate it, and create a space suitable for weekly performances.
It is a temporary solution to a more permanent problem.
“We just took one side of the building and fixed that area,” Hernandez said. “We have to build a new church there. It’s about getting a loan to build a new church. We already have the drawings (plans).
“We’re going to go to the bank and see if we can get a loan,” he continued. “We’re talking about $ 1 million. I’m trying to move it for next year to start building this church. It all depends on what’s going on.
While much of the dining section of the building appears to be in fairly good condition, the old waterfall room is in dire need of attention. The conduits are suspended from the ceiling, the windows are boarded up and debris litter the old dance floor.
“We’re going to have to demolish the roof,” Hernandez said. “According to the drawing, we will use the walls that we have. The most important is the roof. It will have to be put higher. But the dinner party is going.
Although the property has remained vacant for the past seven years, it has housed a number of dining establishments for over 65 years, starting with the Star Diner in 1945, and later the Pushnik’s Diner and Cocktail Lounge, Horn & Horn and D’Alexander’s. In the 1970s and 1980s, Pushnik’s Cocktail Lounge and Waterfall Room became a popular local destination for young adults looking to entertain, entertain and dance.
Read more: The story of the Pushnik brothers and how they established some of Lebanon’s favorite diners
Living Christian Church doesn’t care about its past or its memories, just the potential and the future.
“There is still hope for the restoration,” Hernandez said. “God is alive. We just need to go the way of God. We are trying to encourage people. If you breathe, there is hope. We want to bring hope through our help. We want to be an instrument of God in this city. We pray for Lebanon and all that God does. I know we have something to do here. I know God is going to do something, I can see it.
Hernandez estimated that Lebanon is home to more than 60 predominantly Hispanic churches. The mission of Living Christian Church is closely linked to the integration of the ever growing Hispanic population into the Lebanese community.
“First of all, I try to bring people to heaven,” he said. “It’s my job. I want to encourage them to lead better lives.
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