Smith's Downtown closing soon due to court battle with city

NOW: Smith’s Downtown closing soon due to court battle with city

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. - A Mishawaka mainstay of a decade is closing its doors. After what the owner calls a big battle with city officials, he’s decided to close up shop and sell the building.

Old ticket stubs and playing cards aren’t the only treasure inside Smith’s Downtown in Mishawaka.

Now, the bar and restaurant itself is becoming a piece of history. The man whose name is on the front door, Ryan Smith is finally closing up his shop after 10 years of good times.

The space is a music venue at heart known for bringing new artists into the spotlight.

"There’s been plenty of bands with young kids that normally play in their garage, have gotten their start and their first exposure to playing on a stage here," Ryan Smith who owns Smith's Downtown said.

But this popular venue also ran into some problems.

"We had some issues probably 5,6 years ago where we had some big shows that were kind of overcapacity. We’d have to cut off the door so there would be problems outside and things of that nature," he said. "The city protested against us then and we went down to Indianapolis and won that.”

However, their issues with the city persisted. Especially after someone shot a gun off in the back parking lot last July.

"Of course you know if the people were in here that night, we are the ones who get blamed for that," he said.

In February, the Common Council even voting for no overnight parking in that city lot.

“This is targeted toward a series of criminal behaviors, the risk to public safety, and the concern of public safety," one councilman said in our piece done in February.

The state, eventually revoking Smith’s liquor license.

"Welp it means it’s time to do something else which is why we have um sold," he said.

Court battles now racking up fees and Smith is finally done.

“I still got a family to think about, employees to think about," he said. “I’m just over it.”

The news is disheartening for some longtime visitors.

“It’s a bummer," Jeremy Vohwinkle, the owner of the Prized Pig said. "There are fewer reasons to come to downtown Mishawaka. They’re trying to revitalize this but it’s almost like they’ve done the opposite.”

They are planning to close near the end of July and auction off the rest of the stuff inside.

The bottom level might continue to be a restaurant bar under new ownership but the upstairs part will most likely be turned into apartments.

ABC57 reached out to Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood for a comment but have yet to hear back.

A fundraiser happening later this month, aimed at raising money for legal fees, is now going towards paying employees.

"Fundraisers to get some money together for our employees that are getting displaced. We have about 16 people that work for us that are now going to be without jobs due to this situation," Smith said.

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