Taylor and Michael Monen, the husband and wife duo behind MF Restaurant Group (Taco Mamacita, Urban Stack, Community Pie, Milk & Honey and Hi-Fi Clyde’s) and Scenic City Squash Club, announce their forthcoming project in the heart of the Southside in Downtown Chattanooga. Located at 100 W. Main Street, the 14,500 square foot building on the corner of Main Street and Long Street will be home to Market South, the new Monenbacked Southside neighborhood food hall and gathering space.
“Our company growth over the past few years has been focused outside of Chattanooga. We are beyond excited to announce that our newest project is not only in our hometown of Chattanooga, but also in the neighborhood right down the street from where we live,” says Mr. Monen.
“We love the Southside and have been honored to be a part of its revitalization over the last 15 years,” said Ms. Monen. “We think that Market South will be a great addition to an already amazing neighborhood and community and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to invest in the growth of Chattanooga and its food and beverage community.”
Slated to open in midSeptember, Market South will house a variety of new food and beverage focused concepts.
The Monens landed Five Wits Brewing Company as the anchor tenant for Market South, which is a new craft brewery and tap room led by Denver, Co. natives Elliot Kehoe, Nathan Michaels and Bryan Harris. The Five Wits Brewing Company tap room will feature its own unique food offering, R&D Test Kitchen, which will serve as a rotating food incubator for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs that are looking to get a start in the food industry by opening their own restaurant. R&D Test Kitchen will be led by the Monens.
R&D Test Kitchen applications can be submitted online starting in August for placement into 2020 as the first few tenants for R&D have already been secured. If chosen, these aspiring chefs and restaurateurs will be granted the fully equipped and operational counter service commercial kitchen in the Five Wits Brewing Company tap room and will be given a minimum of three months in a cost-controlled space to launch their own restaurant and food menu, which will be the sole food offering for guests of the Five Wits Brewing Company tap room. While in R&D Test Kitchen, these chefs will also receive full mentorship and business operational assistance from the Monens, as well as MF Restaurant Group.
“This is a community give back project that we are so excited to bring to life,” says Ms. Monen. “We were inspired during our time in Denver with the Five Wits Brewing Company team. Every brewery tap room allows food trucks to park right outside of their front doors offering food to the tap room patrons. We wanted to take this idea and turn it into something sustainable and positive for our growing food and beverage community in Chattanooga. The cost and barriers to entry in our industry are overwhelming. Opening a restaurant takes a lot of guts, experience and survival skills. It’s crazy expensive and the most difficult time for a new restaurant and chef is the first few
months after opening. Our hope is that our mentorship and this incredible space will give aspiring chefs and restaurateurs a chance to raise their own capital, test and refine their concept and gain a lot of needed experience and knowledge in a risk-free environment that they can take with them after their time in R&D so they can move on to open their own successful restaurant.”
In addition to backing R&D Test Kitchen which is expected to host up to four unique rising chefs and new restaurants per year, the Monens will be launching a couple of new small-scale restaurant concepts of their own inside of Market South. The main dining room and gathering space of Market South will be home to Grand Trunk Railroad (Indian street food), Chow Main (Asian inspired wok fare) and Slow Rise (Roman-style pizza), all concepts that the Monens have been developing over the past two years.
"Market South will also be home to a new craft coffee, cocktail and vinyl record shop called The Green Room. The Green Room will serve a full line-up of craft coffee and espresso in addition to a matcha bar, a carefully curated list of organic and natural wines and a unique cocktail offering. Expect to see high quality vinyl records spinning on the turntable behind the bar. Guests can purchase directly from The Green Room’s private vinyl collection if they like what they hear," officials said.
Market South is now accepting applications for all positions. Applications can be submitted in person at Market South, 100 W. Main St. or Hi-Fi Clyde’s, 122 W. Main St.