Damon's closes doors in Sevierville

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 11:14 PM

A scattering of unopened newspapers near the front entryway, a locked door and an empty parking lot indicate that Damon's Grill, once a staple of dining in Sevierville, has closed.

On Wednesday, calls to a number for Damon's corporate offices were going to a voicemail which offered a number for refunds on giftcards, along with the option to leave a message.

Calls to the Sevierville location — which had been in business since 1994 — went unanswered. A call to a member of the local ownership group was not returned by deadline.

The Damon's Grill and Sports Bar chain, which at one time had almost 150 restaurants, has been in trouble for a while. The franchisor filed for bankrupcy in 2009, according to numerous news reports.

As recently as last month, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported only 10 locations of the once thriving chain — founded in Columbus — remained opened.

At the time, the Sevierville franchise was on that list.

Ten other locations across the country answered their phones on Wednesday and remain open. Four were located in Pennsylvania, two in Ohio, two in South Carolina, and one each in Indiana and Wisconsin.

A Louisville location on the campus of the University of Louisville is still listed on the corporate website, like the Sevierville restaurant, but it has changed names and is under different ownership.

A location in Denver, Colo., listed on the corporate website as active also appears to have closed.

According to the Dispatch, Damon’s was started in Columbus in 1979.

The company grew though the decades, the paper reported, "because it was on the cutting edge of the TV sports-bar concept and among the few Northern chains serving ribs."

But with the sports bar scene growing exponentially, Damon's was largely left out of the market.

In August, the Dispatch reported, Damon’s bankruptcy court trustee agreed to sell the chain’s remaining assets — including some franchising contracts — for $610,000 to a subsidiary of Hurricane AMT of West Palm Beach, Fla. That imformation was gathered through filings at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.