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Photo by Dave Flessner / The Flatiron Deli at 706 Walnut Street in downtown Chattanooga will close on Dec. 23.

The Flatiron Deli, a downtown sandwich shop that has operated on Walnut Street near the Hamilton County Courthouse for a dozen years, will permanently close next Wednesday.

Jeni Brown, who took over the deli shop four years ago from its original owner, said the virus and the restrictions it put on both the restaurant and overall downtown activity led to the shutdown.

"The sad fact is that I don't get to continue with the deli," Brown said in a video she posted on the Flatiron Deli Facebook page. "It has been a lovely run and I have thoroughly enjoyed it and thoroughly enjoyed working with my beautiful customers and staff. But the pandemic has killed us financially and I cannot keep going."

Brown, a Chattanooga native, previously worked for three years at Lee Towery Catering and she was one of the original owners of the downtown music venue JJ's Bohemia. She and current owner John Shoemaker are the two J's in the name.

"I can still do other things, so keep us in your thoughts," Brown said in her Facebook post announcing the Dec. 23 closing of the deli.

The Flatiron Deli is among a handful of downtown area restaurants that have shut down this year during the coronavirus pandemic, including the nearby Jefferson's on Georgia Avenue, Mad Priest on Cherry Street and Chicken Salad Chick on Broad Street. On the North Shore, Beast + Barrel closed and in Hixson Karl's restaurant shut down, although that vacancy has been filled by the Chicken Salad Chick relocated from downtown.

Nationwide, a survey in September by the National Restaurant Association estimates that nearly one in six restaurants, of nearly 100,000 restaurants, may ultimately close or shut down for prolonged periods, putting nearly 3 million employees out of work.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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