Spring-like Weather, Changes in the Downtown, Restaurant News

We’re having warm temperatures, thunderstorms, and lots of shifting mist. Saturday, we had a tornado watch, and there was a strong thunderstorm in nearby Tennessee with rotation observed, a legitimate tornado warning. We didn’t get that, but we did get a very strong thunderstorm when that front came through.

There’s lots of construction going on downtown. The old Temple Baptist site is slated to be a Hampton Inn, and construction is underway, with on and off closures of West Main Street. The old feed store location on Mountain Street is under construction for a mixed use facility. The once proud downtown Methodist Church has been demolished. I posted an architectural rendering of the coming mixed use facility a few columns back.

The new Methodist Church location, over behind the post office and Town & Country Furniture is finished. The new Faith Presbyterian Church, just northeast of the intersection of Hwy 515 and Hwy 60 0n Bluebird Lane, is coming along nicely. You can see the gold steeple from some locations on the south side of My Mountain, and it looks great. They’re awaiting the delivery of a Celtic Cross to mount on top. It’s a small church, and I’ve been told that the congregation has grown so much since the church was planned that it’s already a bit small. Good for them. For reasons explained at length in Deborah Vansau McCauley’s Appalachian Mountain Religion (University of Illinois, 1995) this has always been a tough region for Presbyterian recruitment, even though the locals are their people.

The Faith Presbyterian congregation has been worshiping downtown, in building that a lot of us remember as the second location of Inman Born’s Automotive Specialties. The altar is right about where the grease rack was in the old shop. It’s ironic that the new location is more or less across the highway from Inman’s fancy new location, which he has since sold. Inman just flat outgrew the old location, but I always regretted the loss of some of the signage in the old shop. My favorite read: “Please shower before coming to work. If I have to kiss your ass to get you to do your job, I’d like it to be clean.”

In restaurant news, the Blue Ridge Brewery regrettably remains closed. As I understand the story, the new owner of the Black Sheep, who was operating it, decided not to proceed with the purchase for unspecified reasons. Speaking of the Black Sheep, I’m told that the new owner is from New Orleans, and I had a report from someone who knows a bit about the cuisine that his NOLA style items are authentic and good. There’s a new bar, the Mystic Mountain Hops Vinyl Bar, in the building where the metal building office and the sewing shop were, down the street from Blue Smoke Barbecue on the old highway. That’s not to be confused with Mystic Mountain Pizza, in the old center across from the Village, next to the Mexican restaurant where all the “guest workers” eat. Grumpy Old Men Brewing is now open on Monday, as is Fannin Brewing.

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