The owners of Caffeine are opening a new restaurant in St. Elmo called Blacksmith’s Bistro & Bar.
Restaurant owner Blackwell “Blacky” Smith IV said the new place is like Caffeine’s big brother. “This is like Caffeine grown up a little bit,” he said.
The new eatery is on the point in St. Elmo, in a building that formerly housed Olde World Bakery.
Mr. Smith, a native of Chattanooga and his wife, Kelly, who is originally from California, opened Caffeine on Martin Luther King Boulevard in May 2005. The new restaurant will follow in the footsteps of the eclectic downtown restaurant, which has sandwiches with unique ingredients like brie cheese and artisan bread.
Staff Photo by Patrick Smith
Keith West, left, and Thomas Perry work to prepare Blacksmith's Bistro and Bar, a new restaurant in St. Elmo, on Thursday. The restaurant, owned by Blackwell Smith, will be similar to his first business Caffeine.
Mr. Smith, who studied at the Lousiana Culinary Arts Institute in Baton Rouge, designed that menu at Caffeine and said the bistro will have an ever-changing menu with contemporary American food and a full bar and an American wine list. He plans to have a brunch menu, as well as lunch and dinner.
With Caffeine entering its fourth year, Mr. Smith said he has learned a lot about the restaurant business.
“I have a better understanding of what people want now than I did three years ago,” he said.
Mr. Smith, 32, said the bistro will allow him to do the type of cooking he wanted to do in Caffeine but never could because of space limitations.
The new place is about 2,100 square feet and will seat about 82 people inside, with room for 24 in the courtyard out front. He expects the new restaurant to open by the end of September.
The Smiths live on Lookout Mountain and decided the area needed something after noticing the lack of a full-service restaurant in the area.
Savage Glascock works in real estate in St. Elmo and said that judging by the quality of the food Mr. Smith serves at Caffeine, Blacksmith’s Bistro & Bar couldn’t be anything but good. His family’s real estate business, Glascock Co., is about 50 yards away, which he said is walking distance from his office.
“I think it will be a wonderful addition to the area,” he said.
Mr. Smith declined to reveal how much money he invested in the restaurant.
Work is still being done to ready the restaurant’s space, but Mr. Smith already has built tables and painted the individual walls red, lavender and cream to create a feeling of sections in the restaurant. The bar will have a marble counter surrounded by deep red walls with a French-inspired, mirrored-back side board.
Mr. Smith plans to run the bistro while his wife will continue to run Caffeine. She will also help out with managerial tasks at the St. Elmo restaurant.
He said he doesn’t worry too much about problems in the national economy because business at Caffeine has remained steady for the past year and a half.
Menu items will range from $5 to $25, a range he decided on because he did not want to have to exclude anyone, but he also wanted to be able to offer, for example, lobster and bacon macaroni and cheese.
“I wanted to have a place where people can come and have a good time and get a good meal and be happy,” Mr. Smith said.