NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — The pandemic has closed down a lot of businesses, but one locally-owned restaurant made it through the worst of it only to find out this year might be the last.
In a growing city, plenty of businesses in Nashville come and go and unfortunately, Athens Family Restaurant is one of them that could be closing its doors.
"What I wish to happen is to find somebody or a company that would invest, help us by investing in Athens so we can move this place to another location, possibly a bigger location," said co-owner, Mohammed Rasras.
For 16 years this spot on Franklin Avenue in Nashville has been the home to Athens Family Restaurant.
"We’re not leaving because it’s our choice, we’re leaving because we are been kicked out, literally kicked out," he said.
Rasras said he was a silent partner and came out from behind the scenes to lend a hand.
"Back in 2010, we were featured on the Food Network channel and the place was just hopping; I mean it was going crazy. We were busy before but that was like 10 times more busy," he said.
Until 2020 and the COVID-19 restrictions, which made it hard for the Greek-style restaurant to stay afloat. They eventually fail behind on rent.
"Unfortunately, that's what got us this time. I know he's been trying to get this building for a while," Rasras said.
According to the lease, Rasras said if rent is missed the property owner can terminate the agreement -- this even though the business is now all caught up.
An agent with HND Realty officials said Rasras is not the leaseholder for the restaurant, adding that the company never had a lease with him.
HND Realty said the original owners terminated the lease because they didn't received rent and could no longer afford to stay.
The realty group said he signed an agreement which became a court order last Tuesday saying he would surrender the restaurant June 1.
It’s a huge loss on the community as well.
"My wife is crying because of it but we hope that they will find a place and we still can visit," said Jackie Davis.
Davis says he and his wife have been coming here for years.
"It’s a great family place, it’s just a wonderful place to come," Davis said.
But they all remain hopeful for the future.