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    When Chef Dustin Staggers (of Roux, Ten Tables, Epic Sammich Co etc.) announced the plans for America. The Diner. in  February, the casual 24-hour concept was supposed to be up and running by the Fourth of July. Though Independence Day is nearly here, America. The Diner. is… not.

    Image of 814 Cherokee Road courtesy of Google Maps
    “America. The Diner., at 814 Cherokee Road, is, as a location, not going through,” says Staggers. “The building was sold mid-negotiation and the new owners had some concerns.” According to Staggers, the new owners are Matthew Barzun (a U.S. ambassador to the U.K.) and wife Brook Brown Barzun, whose address is registered as just around the corner from America. The Diner.‘s proposed location.

    According to the deed for 814 Cherokee Road, filed in Jefferson County on April 23, 2015, the property was purchased in April by FB 2011 LLC. A limited liability company, FB 2011’s annual report is signed by member Brook Brown Barzun.

    “We acquiesced to some of the concerns they had, but I think I a negative stigma was attached to what we were doing, unfairly and unnecessarily. Like the church on the corner – I mean, people ran with those unfair assumptions,” says Staggers.

    The unfair assumptions of which Staggers speak took form in a petition, circulated through the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood by the nearby Church of the Advent. The church’s listed concerns included the questionable appropriateness of a restaurant serving alcohol until 4 a.m. for the neighborhood, the possible poaching of parking spaces and the increase in traffic.

    Image of Church of the Advent courtesy of Google Maps
    But the church’s opposition alone was not quite enough to halt Staggers. To garner support, America. The Diner. started their own petition and letter-writing campaign. Between Wednesday, March 25 and Friday, March 27, they collected 150 signatures and 200 signed letters to send to the ABC board in favor of America. The Diner. being granted a liquor license. Also, Staggers “met with Councilman Tom Owen and came up with a revised plan that [Owen] felt would represent his constituents’ needs for the Cherokee Triangle.”

    But this new plan was not enough for the new owners to reach an agreement. “They had some concerns about the kind of crowd that would come with a 24-hour establishment, so we made some concessions, we were going to close earlier, cut liquor off earlier, but it just came down to some final negotiations, and we couldn’t get on the same page.” Staggers says. “No hard feelings, business is business.”

    Image courtesy of America. The Diner. 
    If there is a ray of sunshine for diner hopefuls in this change, it’s that Staggers still plans to open America. The Diner. - somewhere else. “We are supremely confident, as a restaurant group, that America. The Diner. will open sometime very soon somewhere very close,” says Staggers. “I have a few locations in mind, but I’m not at liberty to speak about any of them.”
    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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