Jean's Restaurant evicted, looks to move

Whitney Downard / The Meridian Star

After receiving an eviction notice Monday, Jean's Restaurant owner Jamie Johnson said he's looking to move and keep the restaurant open. 

For decades, Jean's Restaurant on Front Street in Meridian has remained the same: the same customers come every day to sit in cracked vinyl chairs at the same tables to see waitresses who have served tables there for more than 30 years.

"This place has always looked this way," Jamie Johnson, who owns the restaurant, said. "But we keep it clean."

On Monday, Johnson learned he has 30 days to leave the restaurant that he's worked in on-and-off for 22 years, since the age of 14.

"I only slept for an hour last night, looking at different places" Johnson said. "I've got 11 employees to worry about. My plan is to move but we only have 30 days."

Johnson said the owner, Peachtree Properties, LLC., cited the condition of the restaurant in the eviction notice after Johnson started renovations last week.

"I'm not trying to make him look bad," Johnson said, repeatedly. "I just want people to understand."

Media attention came Monday when a TV station came to do a story on Jean's renovations. Johnson said he called to ask the station to pull the story after receiving the notice.

"I'm not upset for myself. I could always get work somewhere else," Johnson said. "It is honestly about these people. There's no turnover here. I've been working with some of these people for since I started."

In just the short time since the story got out, Johnson said he's had people reach out to him, offering comfort and tips.

"They'll say, 'Move to North Hills,' or 'Come to Marion' and that's what keeps me going right now," Johnson said.

A representative from Peachtree Properties declined comment.

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