Future of Dalton Depot restaurant up in the air
The future of a well-known Dalton landmark is up in the air. The downtown Dalton Depot has been closed after a city inspection revealed safety issues.
The city owns the historical building turned restaurant, but the owner has been running the business for decades.
The owner of the Dalton Depot restaurant was too upset to talk with us on camera about having to be shut down. The city tells us there are safety issues that can not be ignored.
"I think it says about repairs or something?"
Jackie Deaton is just one of many people we saw stopping by the Dalton Depot Friday to grab a bite to eat.
"They have good chicken sandwiches here, so 'let's go by here and get one of them real quick.' It sounds like they're closed because of the city of Dalton for some reason," said Deaton.
A sign posted on the door reads "Closed for repairs by City of Dalton."
"It's a very old structure. And the maintenance to the building over the years is important. And we've done some, uncovered some safety issues that had to be addressed sooner rather than later," said City Administrator Ty Ross.
Ross says a contractor estimates the repairs would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The flooring and the structural integrity of the building is in jeopardy," said Ross. When asked how the repairs have been on the city's radar he answered, "Recently come about due to our own investigations."
Restaurant owner T.J. Kaikobad held back tears as he spoke to Channel 3 off camera. He says the business has been in his family for the past 25 years and it was tough telling his employees and customers they were being forced to close.
"The city owns the building and it's leased to the tenant. And there's rights and obligations under the terms of the lease," said Ross.
The building itself dates back to 1836 and is older than the city of Dalton. It survived Sherman's march to Atlanta.
According to the restaurant's website, the city purchased the building in 1978 and underwent a $1 million renovation in 1990.
"What we're trying to get down to is what is the best way to go about accomplishing these repairs, utilizing tax dollars. So we want to be good stewards of the tax payer's dollars. So we're doing this in a very concerted and thoughtful manner," said Ross.
It is not clear if or when the restaurant will open back up.