Eatery made famous by R.E.M. album hits hard times

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The owner of a restaurant that inspired the name of rock band R.E.M.'s "Automatic for the People" album says he might be forced to close unless business picks up.

A utility employee showed up Friday to cut off the gas to Weaver D's Delicious Fine Foods, restaurant owner Dexter Weaver told The Athens Banner-Herald (http://bit.ly/PHYVGK). Weaver says he paid what he could and his Athens restaurant remains open.

Weaver has been running the neon green soul food restaurant for more than a quarter of a century.

R.E.M., which began its rise to worldwide notoriety in Athens, adopted Weaver's "Automatic for the People" motto for its 1992 album.

The restaurant still features R.E.M. pictures on its walls and draws fans of the band from around the globe.

In 2010, the rugged economy stung the restaurant and business dropped off.

"But we were there, we were whole, we were able to pay our bills," Weaver told the Banner-Herald. "But anytime when somebody comes in Friday ready to cut your gas off — that's what we cook on! That would put us right out. I'm so glad that he didn't do it. And I'm glad that my 26 years is good for something."

Brenda Brockway, who was in town for Saturday's University of Georgia football game, made sure to stop at Weaver D's on her way back to Florida.

"It's a tradition for 26 years," said Brockway, who finished graduate school at UGA in 1985. "If people have been supporting it for 26 years, something's going right for it. It would be a shame to see it go."

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