AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The owners of South Bound Smokehouse have announced plans to close their Augusta location, after recent citations regarding underage patrons being served alcohol.

In a statement released to the press, the owners state that recent events have portrayed them ‘in a negative light’.

Earlier this month, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Deputies ran an undercover vice operation at the business on Central Avenue after receiving complaints that staff was serving underage customers and turning the restaurant into a night club.

Seven people under the age of 21 were reportedly cited for drinking alcohol at Southbound on June 11.

The three laws that the management of the Central Avenue Southbound location are in violation of are the Augusta-Richmond County Alcohol Ordinance, the Dance Ordinance and the Occupation Tax Ordinance.

The owner, Brian Brittingham, believes many were using fake ID’s to enter the establishment. He also reportedly fired the manager on duty when the raid happened after allegations that someone snuck people in a side door.

Earlier this week, the Planning & Zoning Office recommended that South Bound’s business and alcohol license be suspended for 90 days and then the business face a $500 fee, and be on probation for a year.

They say they are looking forward to opening a location in Evans in the future.

You can read their full statement below:

It was 6 years ago this week, that we opened our doors at Southbound in hopes of giving our hometown of Augusta a local place to hang out and enjoy good food and good music. Our patrons, staff, musicians, and family have given us some of the best years of our lives and we are so very thankful for their constant support.

Unfortunately, recent events have portrayed our beloved business in a negative light. We have always attempted to operate our restaurant in compliance with local codes and ordinances and we’ll always continue to do so. We love Augusta and we have worked tirelessly for decades to bring culture, diversity, and events to the area to revitalize the community with great success and look forward to continuing this in the future.

Today, we regrettably announce that our Augusta location will not reopen. We are excited about the opportunity to focus our efforts on opening an Evans location in the near future. In the meantime, please go support our sister location Southbound in North Augusta and our brand new raw bar Drift located at SRP Park.