Shrimp Boats Once Docked in Brainerd

Thursday, January 3, 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  I’ll update this article with a few of the recollections.

Chester Martin Remembers Chattanooga's Enriched Society

With that title I am referring directly to the Jewish population of our city. This population had apparently begun its good work long before my time. My father was born in a very rural community in1884 and his family remembered "Leboits" - a peddler, who spoke with a strong "old world" accent. "Leboits" traveled to the most rural parts of North Georgia well before 1900, reaching ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Dr. Karel Hujer

When Dr. Karel Hujer arrived in Chattanooga shortly after WWII he was easily the most highly educated member of the University of Chattanooga faculty. His degree was "Doctor of Science", (D.Sc.) from Prague's ancient Charles University in Czechoslovakia. He received further education in Ancient Astronomy in many parts of the world, including Paris, London, Egypt, Mexico, and Peru. ... (click for more)

Christina Strickland, 35, Shot On Thursday

Christina Strickland, 35, was shot on Thursday.  Chattanooga Police were informed that a shooting victim had arrived by personal vehicle at a local hospital. A Violent Crimes investigator responded and interviewed her. She  suffered a single non-life threatening injury to the ankle. She  was unable to provide any information about her location when she was injured ... (click for more)

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

A home was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.  The Chattanooga Fire Department received a fire call at  3:48  a.m.  and responded to 1825 Dixon Street with four fire companies. The family inside the home was awakened by a passerby knocking at the door. All of them quickly made their way outside the home to safety.  Once firefighters ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)