NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The photos on the wall of South Nashville’s Dairy King under water serve as a reminder of how this small family owned restaurant pulled through the most catastrophic event of its time.
The owner says the praise goes to God and the community and that’s who they are leaning on again, 10 years later.
Owner Jeff Jones will tell you he’s weathered the storm before.
As rain filled the original location along Mill Creek, neighbors just showed up and raced against rising waters to help.
“Toward the end we were in knee deep water, just had a human chain getting the can goods off the shelf. I mean, air conditioners, ice cream machines, just so much went out into those trucks,” remembers Jones.
The image paints the true spirit of the city, with the slogan “We are Nashville” in Jones’ mind.
But relocating was a devastating financial hit for the Jones family.
They borrowed money everywhere they could and Jones says they ended up financing 3/4 of a million dollars to get back open. Debt they are still paying back 10 years later.
“At that point, I had to turn it over and keep the faith. I didn’t know what to do but the Lord takes care of fools and children, so I guess he took care of us. That’s all I can say.”
The Lord and the army of loyal supporters that line up every day for the family’s country cooking.
“It’s all my grandmothers or my mother’s recipes. The southern style meat n three. Fried pork chops and white beans mashed potatoes and fresh cabbage, home-made peach cobbler.”
But when the coronavirus hit, the meat n three sat silent again.
Just a couple of weeks this time compared to the six months following the flood.
Now Dairy King is offering curbside pick-up, leaving sales at 50% but the support is at 100.
“The community reaching out to us and supporting us, it was like after the flood. you know, I’m getting checks in the mail, it’s unbelievable,” said Jones. “Just people in the neighborhood, customers, tips you know, it’s just insane. We just get so much support, we are very fortunate. And it’s humbling.”
But they need those loyal fans to keep coming, with concern they could lose their business yet again.
“It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be close, we still need our faithfuls and I know they will be here. I know they will be here. So yeah, we are cautiously optimistic,” said Jones.
Dairy King has been serving the community for 50 years and they are hopeful to keep the family tradition alive for yet another 50.
The meat n three is selling T-shirts to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Click here to learn more.
In a special report, News 2 looks at the 2010 Flood, and the lessons on recovery, all day Thursday, April 30, in every newscast.