HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Chuck's Deli rose from the ashes and celebrated its grand reopening Monday, March 18, after a fire seriously damaged the restaurant in December.
It took fire crews several hours to put out the flames at the popular Harriman restaurant.
On its first day back in operation, Chuck's Deli was packed.
The restaurant's owner, Sonya Shilling, grew up in the apartment over the deli, and her dad was there when the fire happened, getting out with just the clothes on his back.
She said they have been amazed by all the community support they have received.
"Every one of our customers is like family to us, mom and pop restaurant where everybody knows everybody's name," Shilling said.
This family atmosphere made Chuck's Deli a Harriman institution for the generations of folks that have been coming over the years.
"Oh honey, this is family. Everybody in there's family," customer Shelia Stafford said.
For Shilling, the restaurant has this reputation because it literally runs in her family.
Chuck was the original owner, and he sold it to a waitress, Shilling's mother, who ran it for almost 30 years until she passed away from cancer a couple of years ago. Now her daughter runs it.
Overall, Shilling said this grand reopening is an opportunity to keep her mother's legacy going for the Harriman community.