A popular Evansville restaurant still shows the scars of a fire six-months ago, and despite rumors to the contrary, the owner of Shyler's Barbecue says he still plans to reopen.
Shyler's would have celebrated 22 years in business this past March, but since the fire in December, its owner tells 14 News that he's had a lot of time to think about things and what he's decided is he's moving ahead with plans to reopen.
For months, former Shyler's customer like Lewis Rhea wondered when the BBQ joint would reopen.
"I thought it was going to reopen in a couple of weeks and seem like it's taking longer," says Lewis.
The restaurant closed in December 2012 after a fire in the kitchen. There was talk that it may stay closed, but despite the emptiness inside, owner J.B. Simmons has no plans to walk away.
"I've heard that same rumor, but we are going to reopen," says Simmons.
Simmons says problems with his insurance company are holding things up, but they're not stopping him. Despite filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2011 and seeing sales slip last year, he says because of construction at Green River and Lincoln, Simmons wants to remodel the whole restaurant and open up again around January.
"Inside, the outside, the blacktop, and new walls, new ceilings, new floors," says Simmons. "It's going to bring it up to date."
Simmons says it's good to know customers like Lewis are waiting to eat Shyler's again.
"That means a lot, because sometimes you wonder," says Simmons. "Sometimes I think God's trying to teach me patience here or redefine that word for me, and that's where this is at."
After 52 years in the restaurant business, and at a time when many his age are retiring, J.B. Simmons is about to start another big project, one he's excited to see through.
"I'm a fighter, and I see it as a challenge because with the fire, that was kind of like a Godsend," says Simmons. "Now I'm shut down. It gave me a lot of time to think about what I should do and this is why we're doing this."
Simmons told 14 News even though the look will change, the restaurant will still have a 60's theme.
He says the food won't change, and the prices should stay about the same. He says he had big plans for his carryout, expanding it and making a system where you can pull up into a numbered spot and have food brought to your car.
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1115 Mt. Auburn Road
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