Just last fall, the world got its first glimpse at Smyrna's Wagon Wheel Restaurant and Bar through the lens of the Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible. Business has been good but owner Peggy Gallegos is ready to start a new chapter.
Through her grand-daughter, Jessica Furman, Patty Gallegos announced on Friday evening that her 25-year run as the owner of the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and Bar would be coming to a close on Sunday, Sept. 7.
The email sent through Furman, who has also been the restaurant manager since it reopened last year following a stint on the Food Network's rehab show, “Restaurant Impossible” read, in part, “We have decided to close the Wagon Wheel on Sept. 7. It has been a great run but due to the owner's health conditions, this is what is best.”
In a phone call on Monday, Furman added that the decision to close has nothing to do with slowing business. She also explained that the business and the property are for sale and inquiries should be directed to Gallegos at email@example.com.
“People have come to love the Wagon Wheel for the food, the atmosphere and the entertainment. Word has gotten around about all of that and we could have continued if my grandmother wanted to but she is almost 70 years old and she has many other things she wants to do with her life.”
The eatery found a second life through “Restaurant Impossible,” an opportunity that Furman, a an accounting major in California at the time, helped set up when she applied on her grandmother's behalf.
People familiar with the show know that the concept is simple: the show's host, Robert Irvine, overhauls failing restaurants with new décor, an updated menu and some television psychology. The Wagon Wheel saw new upholstery, an updated bar area, fresh coats of paint and a recommendation to stop serving muskrat.
Furman also brought a little bit of California cool with her and instituted regular nights of entertainment. For almost a year, there has been a revolving door of regular acts, including music, comedy, open mic nights and holiday-themed bashes.
The music and entertainment will continue nightly through closing weekend, when the closing bash brings in nearly 20 musicians who will play the venue one last time.
“It's sad that it's closing but it couldn't go on forever,” Furman said, who further explained that her first post-college goal was to revive the restaurant that she remembered growing up in. She feels like that goal has been accomplished. “My grandmother told me that is just one thing. We'll close this chapter and start a new one.”
The restaurant will continue its regular hours through Sunday, Sept. 7. On that final day, it will open at 7 a.m. and close at 2 p.m.