published Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Taco Mac plans expansion in Chattanooga

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    The Taco Mac sign hangs above the entrance in this file photo.

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Taco Mac Sports Grill plans to nearly double the size of its downtown Chattanooga restaurant as it grows into space that's now housing the Big Chill.

Tony Dammicci, chief marketing officer of the Alpharetta, Ga.,-based chain, said officials hope to be in the expanded site in the first quarter of next year.

"The restaurant will be updated and refreshed," he said about the eatery in Jack's Alley on the 400 block of Market Street. "That location is busy, alive, vibrant."

The Big Chill, meanwhile, is shifting to the North Shore to a new apartment and commercial building that developer John Wise is raising at Cherokee Boulevard and Spears Avenue, said Scottie Bowman, owner of the restaurant and bar. She said Jack's Alley's operators at Chattanooga Land Co. didn't want to renew the lease.

"I guess that's business," Bowman said.

She said plans are to move into new space and open in November after 16 years on Market. Bowman said Big Chill will gain about 1,700 square feet in the move, and she's hopeful parking will be better than on Market Street as a garage is going up behind the new building.

Joining Big Chill as commercial tenants are Iron Tribe Fitness, Northshore Family Dentistry and Aqua-Tots.

Dammicci said that officials at Taco Mac, which opened in Jack's Alley in 1998, like that area because it draws both locals and tourists.

"You get all kinds," he said. "That is very much part of our brand."

Dammicci said Taco Mac's downtown footprint will increase to just under 7,000 square feet when the expansion is finished.

Kevin Strech, a manager at the Taco Mac, said plans are to add new servers to handle the additional space.

"Business is good," he said.

Taco Mac has 28 restaurants in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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