Speculation has been rampant in Haywood about when the long-promised Shoney’s restaurant will open.
Bruce Crawford, Haywood County Building Inspections director, said the building was inspected earlier this year and all was in order.
“We haven’t heard anything more from them,” he said. “They’ve not called for any inspection. I’m not sure what the issue is.”
Crawford said there has been no final inspection on the kitchen equipment yet, nor on the building.
“We’re in the dark as well. Nobody has really told us why it has been held up,” Crawford said.
Josh Nickol, the Junaluska Sanitary District general manager, said the water and sewer taps were completed months ago.
“We have not heard anything from them in quite a while,” Nickol said in an email. “They are paying their monthly bill.”
Gary Lowe, who had operated the Shoney’s franchise in Haywood for 35 years, announced in 2017 he would rebuild the restaurant after it was demolished several years earlier as part of the interchange construction at exit 104 of U.S. 23-74. At the time of the announcement, Lowe said the restaurant would be open by the summer of 2018.
Lowe has been fielding plenty of phone calls about when Shoney’s might open and didn’t want to comment on when diners could again get their favorite Shoney’s fix. “I’ll open it when it’s built,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Lowe said the new restaurant will have seating for 150 and open up 60 new jobs in the county.
Building contractor Patt Burgin could not be reached for comment.
Lowe opened his first Shoney’s in Haywood County on Russ Avenue in Waynesville in 1979, but eventually outgrew the location and moved to the exit 104 interchange in 1997, which he operated until the state road project put him out of business.
At one time, Lowe operated four Shoney’s in Western North Carolina — in Waynesville, Franklin and two in Asheville — plus three in South Carolina.