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 jolleyh@bellsouth.net.  I’ll update this article with a few of the recollections.


Chester Martin Remembers Sand Mountain

Mention of that good name, Sand Mountain, almost certainly brings a smile to the face of the hearer. I F he is a true Chattanoogan, or someone very familiar with our region, it certainly will. That name has a   definite "down home" ring to it that brings on a sense of happiness and well being. Some of my very earliest memories go back to the days when I would ride ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Architect William Caton

While growing up back in Neolithic times (aka the 1940's), various friends would point out a slightly built, wiry little man, who drove a funny car.   We would be waiting for the bus at the corner of Anderson and Belvoir Avenues in Brainerd, and, if lucky, we MIGHT get to see him in his odd car. He would be coming down from his modest home on North View Avenue, second street ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also "asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood." ... (click for more)

2 Boaters Die In Suspected Carbon Monoxide Poisoning On Chickamauga Lake

Two boaters and their pet were pronounced dead at the scene of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Chickamauga Lake.  Kristy D. James and Mike L. Richardson of Chattanooga were reported missing to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day by a concerned family member. The boaters had not been heard from since Saturday. Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Of Course Gangs Are A Public Nuisance

Now, I don't know it all.  Beginning with my parents, folks of all sorts have been actively pointing out my ignorance for more than seven decades now.  So I'm well aware that I don't know it all.  In recent months I've begun to develop an appreciation for the local work of Mr. Neal Pinkston; I've been impressed with several things he's been doing in his official ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)