Zarzours Restaurant Operator Shannon Fuller Dies Monday Afternoon From Aggressive Cancer; Family Vows To Keep Little Restaurant With A Heart Going

Shannon Fuller, who made hundreds of friends in the Chattanooga area, after coming here from Nashville with her husband Joe, died Monday afternoon from an aggressive cancer.

She only learned recently that she had stage IV lung cancer, and she had not been able to be at her familiar post behind the counter in the small dinner for several months.

Friends recently held a benefit event just down Rossville Avenue from the cafe to raise money to pay the large medical bills.

The Fullers several years ago had built a house right next to Zarzours, which has been in operation by the same family since 1918.

Shannon had recently celebrated her 57th birthday with a trip to Florida.

Friends earlier took Joe and Shannon on a tour of the Biltmore House decorated for Christmas.

Zarzours will be closed for the rest of the week.

Her sister-in-law, Cindy Fuller Thomas, wrote:

This is the most difficult post I have made on Zarzour’s Facebook page.

It is with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat I say we lost the incredible Shannon Fuller today at 2:21 pm following a diligent fight against cancer.

Shannon brought Zarzour’s Cafe back from the brink of disaster.

This woman with a passion for food and people overcame what had almost caused the doors to close when manufacturing dried up and people moved away from South Chattanooga. You see there was no trendy “South Side”. It was vacant buildings, no foot traffic, no art, and very few businesses. To say Zarzour’s was struggling would be an understatement.

Shannon and Dixie Fuller moved to Chattanooga and Shannon asked Shirley Fuller, Dixie’s mother, to give her a shot. Shirley had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Shannon hit every establishment in the area with business cards, accolades for Zarzour’s and an invitation to try us out.

She made it a point to learn your name, what you drank, what you usually ordered on the daily special, she asked about your family and she remembered, she cared. She greeted you when you entered and you felt like you were home when you came for lunch.

Business grew and people started to notice this little gem that has been owned and operated by the same Zarzour family since 1918 and has never closed. Each owner carried the mantra, NOT ON MY WATCH!

Road Food, Gourmet Magazine, Southern Living, USA Today, Taste of Home and I’m sure I’ve left some publications out, realized how magical this restaurant was. Shannon did her thing.

She was feisty, colorful, compassionate and restaurant savy. She saved Zarzour’s.

The best way you can honor Shannon’s legacy is to continue to support Zarzour’s. I promise, Mary Smith, Dixie Fuller, Sherrie Barnes, and Claudia Mallchock will do their best to carry on Shannon’s life work-make you feel welcome, serve delicious food, and provide entertainment to boot!!

God speed Shannon. You will be sorely missed by many.

Especially me.

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