Multiple businesses have closed in the downtown Chattanooga area within the last year and another is set to close this Friday.
Porker's BBQ opened back in 1989 and it's been a favorite among locals for decades, but despite large crowds this week, the owner says he just can't afford to keep the doors open any longer.
"It's hard to believe, a lot of these people who work here have worked here probably since the day it opened and you don't see that at very many places," said customer Thomas Wells. " It's sort of like cheers I guess."
Long time customers are upset to see the business go.
"It's a death experience for everybody, both the customers and the employees," said customer Scott Soltau.
Porker's BBQ has served its customers for more than 28 years. Customers say the workers are like family.
"It's really all about family, there's only about 6 of us that work here so we all work together and see each other every day know about each other's lives," said waitress Laura Pettit.
The restaurant is rich with history. Perhaps the most told story among patrons is the time when President George W. Bush visited the restaurant back in 2007.
"I remember when he walked out here someone in that building opened their window to take a picture of him and they got a whole lot of unwanted attention by the secret service so that was interesting," said Soltau.
Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Turner have also dined there too.
"Yeah, it's nostalgic, it's almost a landmark in Chattanooga," said customer Angel Anderson. " I guess we took it for granted that it would always be here so it's just sad that it's closing."
The people here say they'll never forget the good conversation.
"A lot of memories inside, I used to come here with my brother," said Soltau.
Friendships made over barbecue.
"Ever since we put it on the door people have been calling non stop asking is it true and it's true," said Pettit. " So now they're all coming in, I wish they would have come in so we wouldn't have to close but that's okay. I want them to know that we will cherish all of the conversations and memories."
The owner of Porker's BBQ says he plans to open up a food truck and catering service with in the next few weeks. The restaurant will close around 6 o clock Friday night, but may stay open later depending on the line of customers and amount of food left. Owners say they will be using the same store number for future business: (423) 267-2726.
You can also contact the owner through email at: email@example.com