Employees, customers find popular restaurant closed - WSMV News 4

Employees, customers find popular restaurant closed

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Dozens of people are out of work and a west Nashville tradition is no more.

Customers and employees at Calhoun's arrived to the restaurant Wednesday on White Bridge Road to learn the 25-year-old establishment has been sold and closed.

Around lunchtime our news crew watched as, one-by-one, people hungry for a taste of barbeque were turned away with a bad taste in their mouth.

"I don't know. We care here for lunch, and it's closed up. You can't get a decent set of ribs in town, so I don't know what I'm going to do," said customer Sheila Martin.

Martin wasn't the only bewildered customer.

"Calhoun's has been offered a business opportunity we could not pass up," said customer Many Milek, as she read the note posted on the restaurant's door.

COO Bart Fricks said the Knoxville-based Copper Cellar chain of restaurants was approached in December 2011 about selling the White Bridge Road location to a group of investors. At first, the answer was 'no,' but a few weeks later another offer was made that is estimated to be around $1.8 million.

"We sold to them, and part of the deal was to close operations last night," Fricks said.

The deal also included a confidentiality clause which kept everything secret until Wednesday. That is why 52 employees were left in the dark until now.

"I find out I don't have my job from my friend. You can't give a couple days' notice?" said former employee Ron Myers.

Sources told Channel 4 News that the Chef Yang restaurant right across the parking lot from Calhoun's is also part of the sale.

As for what may replace Calhoun's, Fricks said he has been hearing that some sort of shopping venue is planned.

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