Owner of landmark Athens restaurant loses battle with cancer

Elder Law Attorney, Athens GeorgiaMike Williams, the beloved owner of Charlie Williams Pinecrest Lodge in Athens, died last Thursday, as reported in the Athens Banner-Herald.

Williams, 72, ran the restaurant for over 40 years on the eastside off Whitehall Road. The restaurant was closed in 2004 after Williams sold the property.

Established in 1929, the restaurant was known for its buffet of barbecue, seafood and vegetables, in its rustic setting.

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His son Michael Williams said he died of pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with on Feb. 26.

“He had a strong work ethic. When he was going to do a job, you knew it would be done exactly right, but he demanded a lot of himself,” Michael Williams said.

“He had a relentless drive for getting it right, like a perfectionist,” said his brother-in-law Bobby Poss. “Employees loved him and customers appreciated him. He worked hard all his life. Nothing was handed down to him.”

Mike Cavan, former college football coach who currently works in UGA’s athletic department, became friends with Williams nearly 50 years ago when he attended UGA and Williams was working at the time with the Poss restaurants.

For many years Williams hosted football players since the Coach Vince Dooley days, according to Cavan, who also raved about Williams’ work ethic.

“If he did something you better believe it was done right. He was a perfectionist,” Cavan said.

Following his departure from the restaurant business, Cavan began working with Ricky Chastain and his enterprises.

“Nobody could outwork him. He’d roll up his sleeves and get in the middle of things. He didn’t just bark orders,” “Chastain said. “He was honest and lots of fun.”

Athens businessman John Elliott said Williams helped several civic projects in the community.

“Mike was pretty big-hearted,” Elliott said.

A memorial service for Williams will be held this morning at 11 a.m. at Athens First United Methodist Church.