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Crestview restaurant fighting to keep smoker out front to bring in business
A restaurant owner in Crestview is fighting to keep a crucial part of his business right outside his front door.
For months, new patrons followed the smell of smoking meat to "The Wright Choice Soul Food" on Main Street.
Until a city ordinance forced the owners to move their smoker around back.
"If you're walking down Main Street in Crestview there are many shops you can stop in and enjoy, but this smoker has been this restaurant's calling card."
Joel Davis "I was riding down the street, saw the smoker outside and gave it a try and fell in love with the place. Matter a fact, last week I had my birthday party here."
The Wright Choice Soul Food has been open for 9- months and the smoker outside in the parking space was how many people found it.
It's a family business started by a husband and wife team...
Albert Wright "She knew the gift I had was cooking and without her I couldn't do anything."
Recipes passed down from generation to generation their secret: this seasoned smoker.
"The food is amazing. It's fresh country cooking, kind of like grandma used to make. It's hard to find."
Owner Albert Wright says just a few weeks ago he was told the smoker had to go.
A city ordinance for Main Street says business can't advertise on sidewalks
But he says asked Crestview city leaders if he could put his smoker outside and says they agreed.
Dixie Dan Powell "I don't see any difference than that and somebody parking their car there with signs on their car."
The smoker now sits behind the building.
"Really it is a bigger fire hazard out back then it is out here in the open. Because back alley, it's confined and we've got gas lines back there."
Albert says this has hurt his business..
Albert Wright "Every four days we were doing like four cases of ribs and then we dwindled down to two cases of ribs."
Joel Davis "I've had people mention to me that maybe they thought they were closed or weren't there all because people got use to seeing it and it kind of became the trademark of the restaurant."
"On July 14th their lawyer plans to bring this ordinance back up to the city council."