SMYRNA, Georgia (AP) – A Georgia city could soon decide what to do with a decade-old restaurant that serves southern staples and attracts celebrities, but also uses racist imagery and tropes to conjure up the south before the Civil War.
A task force in Smyrna is due to decide by the end of the month whether to preserve, rebuild, demolish the suburb of Atlanta or try to give away Aunt Fanny’s hut, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.
The restaurant, which no longer exists today, became a well-known dining destination from the mid-1900s. The guests included the sports icons Jack Dempsey and Ty Cobb as well as the Hollywood star Doris Day. Former President Jimmy Carter stopped in the cabin during his presidential campaigns.
But it also relied on an “Old South” decor and theme to draw in guests, the AJC reported.
According to news reports, black youths hired as waiters wore wooden menu boards around their necks and danced on tabletops, and there were framed advertisements for slaves on the walls. The restaurant’s namesake, Fanny Williams, sat on the porch in a faded dress and a headscarf, telling customers about her days as a slave, even though she was never a slave, according to the AJC.
“I don’t think we really want to portray this as Smyrna because I don’t think it’s Smyrna today,” said Councilor Travis Lindley, chairman of the task force opposed to maintaining the building.
But others prefer recovery. The cabin was built as a “saddlebag house,” a 19th century architectural style that was popular throughout Georgia during World War II but has become rare today, according to the AJC.
“There is certainly no one else in Smyrna. There are (probably) none other in Cobb County, ”said Charles“ Corkey ”Welch, councilor of Smyrna.
The restaurant closed in 1992 and most of the structure was later demolished or demolished. But Smyrna bought the porch and a room near the entrance and added them to a replica of the hut being built in the town’s welcome center.
The site renovation could cost approximately $ 550,000.
“What exactly do we keep? It’s still a mystery to me, ”said Lewis Wheaton, Smyrna City Councilor. “We haven’t made it yet. And the fact that we didn’t manage that is an indication of the problem for me. “