FLORENCE — A downtown Florence restaurant has closed its doors and removed its sign, but the owner said he is working on a new concept that he will unveil in the future.

Legends Steakhouse is located across the street from the Shoals Theatre on the corner of North Seminary Street and Mobile Street Plaza.

Johnny Fleeman, of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, owns Legends in Florence and six other restaurants, including the Brass Lantern in Lawrenceburg.

Fleeman said he has been working on a new concept for the Florence restaurant for some time.

"We had struggled since we got that bad health score a couple of years ago," Fleeman said. "We were able to bounce back and do some decent sales with that store."

While Fleeman said the closure would have happened despite the coronavirus pandemic, the outbreak and subsequent closure of inside dining at restaurants across the state hastened his decision.

He said if the pandemic hadn't happened, the store would have remained open until it was closed for remodeling.

All of Fleeman's restaurants have been forced to operate on a takeout-only basis. He said takeout cannot sustain the total operational costs associated with a dine-in restaurant.

"We're working with a local architect that's helping us come up with a new look and new concept," Fleeman said. "We've always liked downtown Florence."

He said it's too early to reveal the concept.

Fleeman said his company is strong enough to deal with a downturn, but he fears some restaurants might not reopen after the pandemic subsides.

russ.corey@timesdaily.com

or 256-740-5738. Twitter

@TD_.RussCorey

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