GRILL ISSUE HEATS UP: Attorneys debate downtown smoker's legality


Wright Choice Soul Food’s smoker, seen in this February photo, once served as a landmark for the restaurant. Since then, city officials required owner Albert Wright to move it behind the establishment.

MATTHEW BROWN / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 06:27 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Concerns involving a Main Street restaurateur’s barbecue smoker have heated up as his attorney and city attorney Jerry Miller traded increasingly sharp legal opinions.

The city ordinance under which the Rev. Albert Wright was requested to move his smoker from a parking spot in front of his restaurant to the rear is vague, Attorney Dixie Dan Powell said.

"I really have read it about 100 times but it really doesn't make any sense why we need to be here," Powell said during Monday's City Council meeting.

He suggested amending the ordinance as a “pretty simple solution and request to solve this problem.”

When he opened The Wright Choice Soul Food, Wright said he received city permission to operate his smoker in front of the restaurant, where it became a landmark that attracted customers.

Powell hinted that unless a solution could be found, Wright had grounds to sue the city for a “very substantial loss-of-income claim.”

Miller’s objected to placing the smoker in a parking spot, using the city’s transportation infrastructure for an incompatible use.

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