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2009 bad year for Athens area restaurants

Several local Athens restaurants have closed down in the last few weeks. WOW Café and the Red Rooster closed in the early fall, with Wild Wing and Broad Street Bar and Grill closing in the last few weeks.

Most of these restaurants have statements posted on their doors and windows informing customers of their closing due mainly to economic reasons. Wild Wing has had a string of low-scoring health inspections over the last few months. While their food was good, it was not unusual for a meal to take 2 hours due to the long wait to order, and then receive and pay for the food.

The Jittery Joe's Roasting Company and the adjacent Tasting Room may also be leaving downtown Athens due to the loss of their parking spaces. They have had a running discussion over the use of a vacant lot with the ACC Council. While both the party that owns the lot and Jittery Joe's have a gentleman's agreement over the use of the lot, the ACC Council and Planning Committee have decided otherwise.

The lot is located in the Riverside planning area, which has a stipulation that all lots be paved, with only 1 of the 3 options a semi-permeable surface. The Planning Commission has stated that the lots need to be paved to effectively channel the surface water run-off to the creek. However, it has been pointed out by several parties that in heavy rain, the absence of unpaved lots to absorb the water has flooded the creek area several times, and swept large amounts of trash and pollutants such as vehicle oil and fluids into the Middle Oconee.

Jittery Joe's has stated that they are considering moving from their location if the city pushes them to either pave the lot or lose their parking. If they move, a valuable downtown business will leave, and in its place there will be an empty warehouse and several grass lots instead of a paying, viable business and its customers.

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