Shrimp Boats Once Docked in Brainerd

Thursday, January 03, 2013 - by Harmon Jolley
Shrimp Boats was a sponsor of the 1969 East Ridge High School yearbook.
Shrimp Boats was a sponsor of the 1969 East Ridge High School yearbook.

I’ve often heard folks say that Chattanooga is a tough market for restaurants.  Like Dorothy said in “The Wizard of Oz,” “They come and go so quickly here.”  The list of eateries of the past is quite long, though I’m not certain how we compare to other cities in the number of dining-out demises.

A short-lived restaurant that was once a favorite of mine was the Shrimp Boats, located at 5508 Brainerd Road near Spring Creek Road.

  Based on city directory listings, Shrimp Boats docked in Brainerd in 1969 at a time when areas around Eastgate Mall were still being developed for retail businesses. 

Shrimp Boats was a franchise chain of restaurants that emerged in the 1960’s in the southeast.  Richard Mize was the owner and operator of the local Shrimp Boats.  He was interviewed for the August 28, 1969 edition of “Community Shoppers Guide.” Mr. Mize had first dined at a Shrimp Boats when he was working at a retail men’s clothier in Atlanta.  Loving the food, he set sail to acquire a franchise for Hamilton and Walker counties, with plans for four restaurants (only one was built, I believe).

My family often dined at Shrimp Boats when we were in the Brainerd area.  I recall that they had very tasty grilled hamburgers and fried chicken, in addition to their seafood items.  The building was small, with a steep roof and large glass front window.  I think that the interior had a large net and lifesaver rings over the front counter.

The restaurant promoted itself in commercials by playing the song “Shrimp boats is a coming; there’s dancing tonight.”

The 1970 city directory listed this trove of neighboring merchants:

·         Copeland’s Holiday Gulf Service Station at 5506 Brainerd Road

·         Tomlinson’s Restaurant – 5501 Brainerd Road

·         Holiday Inn – 5505 Brainerd Road

The final listing of Shrimp Boats was in the 1973 directory.  Ingress and egress near the busy Brainerd/Spring Creek intersection may have hindered their business.  Also, competition for dining dollars was fierce in the Brainerd area, with new restaurants frequently opening.

On April 16, 1975, groundbreaking occurred for a branch of the Commerce Union Bank on the site where the Shrimp Boats had been anchored.  The new bank opened in December, 1975, which was one month before the main downtown office opened in a new twenty-one story skyscraper.

Whatever happened to the other Shrimp Boats restaurants?  If you do a Web search on “Shrimp Boats, Inc.” you’ll find some sites that describe surviving locations in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area.  A few sites include photos of the buildings, with their familiar steep roofs and Shrimp Boats logos.

If you have memories of Shrimp Boats, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.  I’ll update this article with a few of the recollections.


Origin of the Cherokee - Part 5 of 5

A few closing comments   I have looked at a godawful number of seventeenth and eighteenth century maps showing locations of various tribes and towns, etc., over the past twenty years, too many to list even if I could remember them all. American writers often use the name Attiwandaron as the autonym for the confederacy also known as the Neutral Nation, and when writing ... (click for more)

Origin of the Cherokee - Part 4 of 5

Rechahecrian/Rickohockan   As mentioned previouly, the largest group of Riqueronon, or Erie, survivors of the attacks by the Haudenosaunee (League of the Iroquois) crossed the Allegheny Mountains into Virginia, where they established a town at the forks of the James River of about six hundred warriors.   The sudden appearance in the neighborhood of so many Trans-Allegheny ... (click for more)

Teen, 17, Charged With Aggravated Rape In Attack On 69-Year-Old North Chattanooga Runner

A 17-year-old has been charged with aggravated rape in connection with an attack on a 69-year-old runner in North Chattanooga on Monday morning. The teen was identified by Juvenile Court officials as Diontae Smartt. Authorities said he has given a confession. Smartt has a detention hearing Thursday at 12:30. The incident happened at approximately 7:30 a.m. ... (click for more)

Berke Implements New Pay Plan For Chattanooga Fire Department

Mayor Andy Berke joined the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and leadership of the Chattanooga Fire Department to unveil the department’s new pay plan Wednesday afternoon. At a press conference at Fire Hall #1 on Main Street, Mayor Berke and IAFF Local 820 President Jack Thompson signed a memorandum of understanding which sets forth regular raises for fire ... (click for more)

Leaders Lead On Amendment 1

This week the Hamilton County Commission was faced with what I believe may be one of the most important votes they have cast during their tenure.  Granted, the vote was over a "mere" Resolution that resulted in no overt action or new law in our county.  But there are times when simply speaking Truth and taking a stand on a foundational Principle is paramount and as such ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Expert Reasons Why To Vote

Early voting for the November election begins two weeks from today so please jump-start your plans that will assure your choices will be counted. In a fun-filled attempt to show what some of those who actually vote do during the rest of the day, I offer two examples of “those who live among us” from experts. The first are a series of questions from readers of “Dear Abby” who ask ... (click for more)