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Neighbors split over music at family barbecue business

Smash Mouth BBQ owner says he’s here to stay.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A WVLT investigation in response to an email sent to the newsroom has found that there is no citation against a Northwest Knox County business, despite calls from neighbors concerned about weekend music volume.

Owner Tony Kyle of Smash Mouth BBQ says he will watch to keep noise levels legal, but he plans on continuing to stay in business to support his family. The restaurant, which has a business and liquor license in good standing, serves barbecue and beer while hosting live music on its outdoor patio on the weekends.

“They say they get a call from a lady every Monday, so they come there and check then did the sound thing and just don’t see a problem,” said Kyle.

Jim Snowden is Senior Director of Knox County Engineering & Public Works, which oversees codes enforcement for the county.

“We feel there’s evidence there to support that there wasn’t an issue, but if we receive another complaint we will reevaluate,” Snowden said. “But there are no citations against the business.”

It is not clear if any official has done a soundcheck at the time of the week some neighbors are complaining about.

Kyle said he received a threat online from someone who wrote that the group of neighbors is trying to put him out of business. None of those concerned about music levels were willing to speak on camera.

Some neighbors say they like the barbecue food and enjoy the neighborhood music.

Jolene Evans says she and her family love the live music they enjoy from their yard across Oak Ridge Highway.

“We sit in these chairs right here and we listen to them Friday and Saturday,” Evans said.

Smash Mouth BBQ is located at 6659 Oak Ridge Highway near Schaad Road.

“10 p.m. to 7 a.m., so essentially the pm, through the night, the decibel level has to be no more than 75, so it essentially drops by five decibels from after 10 o’clock at night. If someone has an issue, please give us a call. We’ll help you out if we can.” Snowden said.

Codes enforcement is at (865) 215-5800. Knox County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number to call is (865) 215-2444.

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