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.


James County Historical Society Meeting is August 3

The James County Historical Society will meet Sunday, August 3, at 2:30pm in the Ooltewah Methodist Church in the Sunday School addition.   The program will be presented by Larry Williams; its topic will be the “The Re-birth of a Model T Ford”.  The program will relate to old cars and to roads of the Old Jim County era. If you use email, please send your email address ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society Meeting is August 5

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will meet at the Walden Town Hall, 1836 Taft Highway, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Refreshments will be served, followed by a short business meeting and program.   The speaker for the meeting will be  Jim Dodson who will deliver a presentation entitled,  "Letters from Mississippi  1860 - 1868. ”   ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits on both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Ohls Avenue While Working In His Yard

A Chattanooga man was shot Tuesday evening, while working in his yard. At approximately 8:55 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 4217 Ohls Ave. for a shooting. Officers located 34-year-old Daniel Marlowe suffering from a single gunshot wound to his hip.  Mr. Marlowe stated to investigators that while he was working in his yard, three black males approached him and ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)