MONTEAGLE, Tenn (WDEF) – Jim Oliver’s smokehouse restaurant was a well known roadside attraction that put Monteagle, Tennessee on the map.
Now, there’s nothing left but rubble.
Around 4pm Tuesday evening, more than 2 dozen fire departments responded to the scene of a large fire involving the famous Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse.
“The restaurant is gone. The gift shop is gone. The music room is gone. We are just heartbroken and devastated at what happened with the fire yesterday. We don’t know what happened but we know it started on the back wall of the kitchen,” says Marla Sitten, Music and Media Manager for Jim Oliver’s.
The iconic restaurant has been a staple in Monteagle for over 60 years and was the home to several antiques and pieces of country music history.
Locals say they will remember the live music and welcoming atmosphere the smokehouse brought to the area.
“I’ve listened to country music played here for many years. I have enjoyed this place very much. Just the memorabilia there were record albums and posters signed by county western singers going back to the fifties. You felt like you were home,” says Stephen Carter, Local resident.
The restaurant is one of the biggest employers in Monteagle and they are still working to figure out their next steps.
“We nearly did not survive Covid. It’s a miracle that we were still open right now and that we were even open yesterday. We have insurance but it will never cover what we lost and we’re going to need help. The hotel and cabin is still standing. Please come stay here. We need u here now,” says Sitten.
The Restaurant owner says they are overwhelmed by the support from the community and hope to rebuild in the future.