Middle Tennessee’s popular Puckett’s Restaurant is putting down roots in Chattanooga’s Riverfront District, establishing a regional presence while sticking to its focus on downtown locations that highlight Southern food and hospitality.
It will open near the Aquarium where TGIF Friday's was long located.
The Puckett’s brand extends back to the 1950s, and a little grocery store in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Tenn. Now, Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant locations in downtown Franklin, downtown Nashville and downtown Columbia, respectively, are known for slow-smoked barbecue and other Southern staples for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with live music most nights. The downtown Chattanooga Puckett’s will be at 2 Broad Street, overlooking the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza, and is working toward a Spring 2015 opening.
Puckett’s Owner Andy Marshall says his family has always felt at home in Chattanooga, having visited the city for everything from high school sports tournaments to family vacations.
“We absolutely love Chattanooga and have admired the progressive downtown market for some time now. Working with the staff of the River City Company, we feel we’ve found the perfect location,” Mr. Marshall said. “The entire district is full of life, with plenty to see and do and a very strong independent restaurant scene. We’re looking forward to being a part of it all.”
Economic development officials have courted Puckett’s for a few years now, according to River City Company Retail Recruiter Blair Mard, who works with prospective tenants as part of the non-profit organization’s partnership with the city of Chattanooga. Mard says the Riverfront District’s proximity to the Aquarium’s ticket office, the IMAX Theatre and other downtown landmarks make it a prime location for a restaurant like Puckett’s.
The 6,750-square-foot first floor will house the eatery, with a large patio adjoining the Plaza. Former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey serves as managing general partner for River Place, LP, the building’s ownership entity. Mr. Kinsey said the Puckett’s brand is precisely what the area needs.
“So much has changed since 1993 when the building first opened. We were looking for the best possible option for visitors and locals alike, and Puckett’s is a proven winner in the Nashville market,” Mr. Kinsey said. “We’re fortunate to have such a highly regarded regional restaurant expanding into our city. From an economic development standpoint, this is another key driver of both tourism and employment for our downtown core.”
Marshall’s company, A. Marshall Family Foods, was recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies earlier this year, and the Puckett’s restaurants have been recognized in local communities for everything from best barbecue and meat and three to best live music venue and best place to work. The restaurant will employ approximately 70 associates in Chattanooga.