FOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — The owners of Sweet P’s BBQ are assessing the damage after a car crashed into their building over the weekend.

Knoxville Police are still looking for the driver of the vehicle after they fled the scene. Now, the Fountain City restaurant is temporarily closed until they can fix the damage.

“We’ve been dealing with insurance people, and structural engineers, and contractors all morning,” Chris Ford said who co-owns the business with his cousin. “We started out of my basement doing just catering, and then we opened our first restaurant in 2009 in South Knoxville. We were there for 11 years. Then after the pandemic, we closed that one and opened this one and have been downtown for about 7 [years].”

They’ve been at the Tazewell Pike location for a little over a year.

“Fountain City just seemed a little undeserved. We liked this building, we knew the owners, it was just a good opportunity, right time for us,” Ford stated.

Sweet P’s Uptown Corner has been a hit with the Fountain City community.

“There’s no place like that in Fountain City. It’s a very casual atmosphere that’s very cool, you can get together and have a drink, eat some good bbq, and socialize,” said Jerrad Kidd.

Kidd owns Tennessee Sporting Goods which is just a quarter mile down the road from the restaurant. He said he doesn’t see many wrecks near that intersection, but it can be dangerous at times. 

On Sunday, Sweet P’s Uptown Corner got hit hard by a driver that KPD said was speeding down Tazewell Pike.

“Sunday around 5:30 a.m. a vehicle coming on to Jaskboro Pike turning onto Tazewell, just going too fast it looks like, clipped the corner of the building,” explained Ford.

The initial damage didn’t look so bad but hours later Ford says the rest of the front of the building collapsed.

“Being on this corner, especially around there, people come around there pretty fast. So I can’t say I’m completely surprised,” said Ford.

He stated that with this amount of damage they will be shut down for at least two months.

“Our number one thing is making sure our employees get paid and we make it through the next two months.”

Ford said he hopes people will consider visiting their other location downtown for the time being and that they are still open for catering there.

We also reached out to the owners of the building to get more information on what this will cost them and have not yet heard back. Police are still looking for the driver of the vehicle.

A police report describes him as a skinny male in his late 30s with possibly long hair. KPD does not have anything to indicate it was intentional at this point.