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VOL. 41 | NO. 13 | Friday, March 31, 2017
Larry’s Country Diner closes before opening
By Tom Wood
Plans for a real-life Larry’s Country Diner restaurant to be built in Bellevue are no longer on the front burner. They’re still simmering but could be off the stove entirely. The project – based on a popular cable television show of the same name that is hosted by former WSM disc jockey Larry Black – sits half-finished at the Highway 70 exit just off Interstate 40.
It was Black’s dream four years ago to build a show-themed restaurant in much the same way country legend Ray Stevens is currently building his CabaRay Showroom dinner club just off Charlotte Pike two exits closer to Nashville after first launching the successful CabaRay Nashville syndicated TV show.
But Black, who was seriously injured in an ATV accident in Montana in late June 2015, says his project got way too expensive to build and the property has been up for sale.
“It was to be a reality show that became a real restaurant, a real diner. And during that time, during that two-year period, I went off the side of that mountain in Montana, and I think concussions do things to you that they ought not to do because your cognitive skills get abused,” Black explains, speaking recently from his Gabriel Communications offices.
“I look back on some decisions I made, and it’s like ‘how in the world did you make a stupid decision like that?’ … But now we’ve got $2.5 million in it, and the restaurant’s not completed.
“And, if we were to continue down the course I’d set for us, it would be another $2 million to finish it.”
Black adds he has fielded numerous calls about the property and expects it to sell eventually, whether it’s a Larry’s Country Diner or not. He says he would be willing to walk away from the property for less than he has already invested.
Bellevue is a hot retail area right now, with the development of Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom, the One Bellevue Place retail center and hundreds of new homes being built on the west side of Nashville.
Despite that setback, the Larry’s Country Diner TV show continues to do well, as does Black’s companion Country’s Family Reunion show, video sales of both shows, show-themed cruises and other ventures. Other live and taped shows are being considered by Black, including possibly hosting some at the CabaRay Showroom.