Mid City Grill suspending late-night service citing increasing violence in downtown Johnson City

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A popular eatery in downtown Johnson City that is known by locals for staying open well into the morning hours has suspended its late-night service citing an increase in violence in the downtown area.

Co-owner of Mid City Grill Theresa Garnett said the decision to suspend overnight operations at the restaurant was made on the weekend of October 2. This was almost two weeks before the fatal shooting at the Tipton Street Pub.

Garnett cited increasing violence in the downtown Johnson City area during overnight hours as one of the primary factors in the decision.

Garnett also said that on Oct. 2 two different people pulled guns out. Garnett stated that neither of the people who pulled guns out were employees at Mid City Grill, police were called to the incident.

Police showed back up on Oct. 3, when one of the men that brandished a firearm also showed back up. Garnett said the police gave the man a warning.

In a statement from Mid City Grill, Garnett also stated that waitresses have been cornered in alleyways and asked “extremely inappropriate” questions.

Late-night diners walking out without paying their tab also become an issue at the restaurant. Garnett said that they had begun to see about three to four walk-outs per night during late-night hours, which was leading to losses of about $300-$500 per week.

Garnett said that there is not much that they can do about the behavior because, unlike bars and clubs, Mid City Grill does not have bouncers to keep the rowdiness in check.

Garnett also cited the fatal shooting at the Tipton Street Pub in downtown Johnson city as a “prime example” of why the restaurant chose to suspend late-night hours.

Garnett said the fact that the man, identified as Jonathan Murphy, who was arrested for discharging a firearm inside a different downtown bar was free just a few months later to kill a man at the pub on Tipton Street aided in the decision to end late-night service.

Garnett says with the increase in employee harassment, violence in the downtown area and customers walking out without paying, they can’t risk the safety of staff and customers by continuing late-night service.

The restaurant will now begin opening on Sundays for lunch and dinner. Hours will be adjusted to 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and then have a break and resume service from 5 to 11 p.m.

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