Downtown eatery closes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

FRANKLIN—Phinn’s Oyster Bar & Fresh Market, a downtown Franklin restaurant that opened with great fanfare and greater expectations, closed its doors Monday after a year of operations.

Owner Dan Hunt said Tuesday that he declined to renew his lease on the building at Main Street and Second Avenue. He declined to discuss the reasons for the closure.

Hunt’s other business interest, Pace House Inn, will remain in operation. Hunt said chef Josh Enos will prepare dinner there on Friday and Saturday evenings except when the bed-and-breakfast is reserved for private functions.

Franklin Mayor Jim Councill said he learned of the closure Tuesday and &uot;was shocked&uot; and &uot;sadly disappointed.&uot;

Councill said he felt &uot;especially for Dan, because he’s put his heart and soul into everything he’s done in Franklin. He loves Franklin.&uot;

The closure of Phinn’s, named for Hunt’s chocolate Lab, is the second loss of a downtown Franklin restaurant in a year. Grey Fox Restaurant, featuring Southwestern cuisine, closed last April. Owner Suk Hing Jen cited slow business and family obligations as her reasons for closing the restaurant at 401 N. Main St.

As for Phinn’s closing, Councill said, &uot;I just hate it for him, and I hate it for the rest of us.&uot;

Councill said he’s had casual conversations through the months with other restaurateurs about moving downtown, but no move is definite.