SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, Tenn. — A sign posted by the city of Chattanooga says a barbecue restaurant is condemned and dangerous after a mudslide almost three weeks ago took out a neighboring Subway on Signal Mountain Road.
At lunchtime on Tuesday, the owner of Shuford's Smokehouse was able to serve takeout. Now at dinner, his building has been condemned by the city, and his main source of income is gone.
Just hours ago, Shuford's owner Jeff Davis was prepping ribs and serving potato salad.
"I've been here 33 years and I've always felt safe in here," says Davis, "This is basically my home, I live here."
Our NewsChannel 9 SkyCam showed where trees, rocks, and debris crushed a Subway next door on Saturday, February 23.
The city of Chattanooga told Davis the building was unsafe, and closed his dining room to customers.
But he says working inside was a risk he was willing to take to make a living.
He says his faith allows him to walk in without fear.
"God's will. He's in control, and I'm not sure what path He wants me to take, but whatever path it is I'm happy to go down it."
"He's got a good product. They're nice people, and they're Alabama fans," said longtime customer Allen Welton, laughing.
Customers like Welton didn't stop coming just because of the dangerous conditions.
"I've been coming here about 25 years," he said.
Just hours later, the city put up signs on the doors, condemning the building.
The sign says NO ONE can enter except to secure, demolish, or repair the structure.
But the city says they’ve given special consideration to Davis, even though they’ve warned him of the risk.
Earlier today, Davis said he was hopeful business will soon be booming again.
The city says it’s Davis’ responsibility to stabilize the hill behind the restaurant before it is safe to be inside again.
Even though the sign on the door of Shuford’s says CONDEMNED, city spokesperson Richel Albright told us the word 'condemned' doesn’t actually appear in this building code. They are referring to the building as dangerous, and say it cannot be occupied by the general public.