East Marshall Avenue

The former Johnny Cace’s Seafood & Steakhouse is seen on East Marshall Avenue.

The former Johnny Cace’s Seafood & Steakhouse property on East Marshall Avenue has sold more than four years after the building became vacant.

“I’m not at liberty to tell you who bought it,” said Cathy Cace, widow of Gerard Cace, who was the longtime proprietor of the iconic Longview restaurant named after his father. “We are glad the property sold and we are looking forward to what the buyer does. We know it is probably going to improve Highway 80.”

Cace, who now owns The Cace Kitchen takeout and catering business with daughter Chelsea on North High Street, said the new owner is a local resident.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The property has an assessed value of $350,390, according to the Gregg County Appraisal District.

The property at 1501 E. Marshall Ave. had been on the market since the restaurant closed in March 2015, Cathy Cace said. A Texas historical marker was erected on the property that same month.

Johnny Cace’s opened in 1949 and is believed to be the first fine-dining restaurant in the region, according to News-Journal archives.

Cathy Cace owned the restaurant and Chelsea was general manager when they announced in January 2015 that it would close. They said at the time that the effort to maintain the 13,000-square-foot building was the main reason they decided to close it.

They also cited the absence of Gerard Cace, who ran the restaurant since the 1980s. He died of heart failure in 2012 in Louisiana.

Johnny Cace, the son of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia who first lived in New Orleans, then in Buras, Louisiana, and later in Longview, opened the 37-seat restaurant at the corner of Tyler and Green streets in 1949.

The family remodeled it to max out at 200 seats but moved to East Marshall Avenue in 1964.

Johnny Cace turned over operations in the early 1980s to son Gerard, who managed it until his death with both of his brothers serving on the board of directors.

After Johnny Cace’s closed, the building hosted fundraisers such as Newgate Mission’s Christmas Store.