Restaurant keeps cooking after car plows through front entry with customers inside

As police searched for the person who drove their car into a west side restaurant, the owner did not let the damage stop him from serving up some Labor Day barbeque.

An SUV drove into Ashley's Bar-B-Que at 1501 W. Center St. around 5 p.m. on Sunday evening. The crash left two people hurt by flying debris. The entryway and front of the store now sit boarded up. But the kitchen was not damaged, so the owner Darnell Ashley kept cooking.

Chairs are set up outside the store for customers, and the front cashiers now run orders to cars instead of to the lobby. 

One customer was even sitting in a chair against the wall the SUV drove through.

"People were sitting here," said Ashley pointing to the missing wall. "Again, thank God no one was killed."

Ashley said the driver first got out of his SUV and checked on everyone but then took off. He said two customers were hurt by flying concrete but will recover.

"Been in business almost 18 years, of course you wouldn't expect anything like that to happen. We have these barriers set up," said Ashley, pointing to the concrete posts outside lining the restaurant.

Despite the damage to the front, Ashley said he was cleared to keep cooking. And his customers were lining up for it.

"I don't care, it's not affecting the food. The car went through up there, they cooking it back there," said Lachelle Rogers.

Plus with it being Labor Day, Ashley says he couldn't turn away his hungry customers who were looking for their barbeque.

"I didn't feel like cooking and since this is the best rib place in town, I just came on over to get me some," said Rogers.

Ashley is not sure yet how the business will be rehabbed but he plans to keep cooking through it. Police are still looking for the person responsible.
 

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