In a move that some were hoping was a cruel April Fools’ Day joke, the owners of Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que announced Monday they are shutting down their Cecil Ashburn Drive location.
They said Monday, the 10th anniversary of opening the restaurant would be its last day, citing a significant drop in sales.
In a Facebook page post announcing the closure, they say tough decisions had to be made in the wake of the shutdown of Cecil Ashburn Drive in January.
Cecil Ashburn Drive connects Hampton Cove with Jones Valley. The 3.4-mile-long road will be closed for months as part of the City of Huntsville's priority project called "Restore Our Roads." Drivers will have to wait 10 months for just two lanes to reopen and in the meantime will have to travel alternate routes.
The road will be widened, and a median will also be added to ensure safety for drivers. Other safety measures include an anti-skid pavement, rumble strips, a four-foot shoulder and a grate system to help keep water from ponding on the roadway.
Asked on the Facebook page if this was an elaborate joke, the business replied: “We wish it was a joke. Unfortunately, the joke got played on us back in January.”
The owners say they will continue to operate the location in the Village of Providence and that a downtown Huntsville location will open next month.
Matthew Bryan, a regular customer, said he didn't expect for them to close.
"Wishing it was an April Fools Joke, but unfortunately it's not," he said.
The owner of the restaurant said sales were down about 40% from what they were last year at this time. He said it was too hard to stay open.
Bryan said it's obvious Jones Valley is seeing less business since the road closure.
"There's a lot less traffic around this area of town for sure," he said.
Jason Allen, the owner of a barber shop two doors down, said Moe's closure isn't good for his business either.
"We used to catch a lot of foot traffic from them," he said.
Allen said his barbershop has seen foot traffic decrease by about 20% the last few months.
"The closure of Cecil Ashburn has definitely changed business," he said.
Allen said each day comes with some worrying, but they're planning to push through until Cecil Ashburn partially reopens in October.
"It makes me wonder every day if we are going to have enough customers come in the door," he said.
The owner of Moe's said once the road reopens, they'll re-evaluate and possibly reopen a location in Jones Valley, but that could be in a couple of years.
Just last week, Taco Mama announced it's opening a location in Jones Valley--but not until Cecil Ashburn partially reopens. Moe's said it's opening a new location downtown in May.