Owner of landmark Cleveland restaurant that burned says he won’t rebuild

(Cleveland)- It looks like the vacant lot at the corner of North Main and Helen Highway in Cleveland in front of M Star Motel will remain vacant for a bit longer.

That’s the former location of JW Reed’s Tavern. Fire destroyed the building on Sunday, November 10, 2019. The lot was cleaned up and has been vacant since then except for a crop of political campaign signs.

Owner Ed Ward posted on his Facebook page this week said that he has decided to retire and will put the property up for sale. Ward turned 62 this year. On the post, he said: “I resigned as Food and Beverage Director from Unicoi State Park and will not be rebuilding our restaurant, and I will put the property up for sale. I have worked very hard my entire life. I’ve missed most all family outings, vacations and worked nearly every holiday throughout my life. “

He said, “I really miss all the people at JW REEDS and Ma Gooch’s and have a lot of wonderful memories during my 27 years at the corner of 318 North Main Street, and I thank every one of you for your years of support. ”

The restaurant was known as J.W. Reed’s since 2014, but for 20 years prior to that, Ward and his wife Regina operated it as Ma Gooch’s in honor of Pauline “Ma” Gooch, who owned and operated it as Gateway Restaurant from 1967 to 1994.

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