published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Monens growing restaurant empire in Chattanooga, Nashville

Mike and Taylor Monen are shown at Urban Stack in Chattanooga. The Monens talked about their business history and future plans at Urban Stack, one of their Chattanooga restaurants. The pair also own and operate Taco Mamacita.
Mike and Taylor Monen are shown at Urban Stack in Chattanooga. The Monens talked about their business history and future plans at Urban Stack, one of their Chattanooga restaurants. The pair also own and operate Taco Mamacita.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DINING WITH THE MONENS

• 2008:Taco Mamacita opens in Chattanooga

• 2009: A second Taco Mamacita opens in Nashville

• 2011: Urban Stack opens in Chattanooga

• 2011: A third Taco Mamacita opens in Charleston, S.C.

• 2013: Monens open Community Pie and Milk and Honey in Chattanooga

• August 2014: Monens will open Clyde's in Chattanooga

• Spring 2015: Monens will open Urban Stack and Milk and Honey in Nashville

Source: Taylor Monen

Two veteran Chattanooga restaurateurs are opening two restaurants in Nashville next year — in addition to a new tavern on Chattanooga's Southside that'll open in August.

Taylor and Mike Monen will open a second Urban Stack and a second Milk and Honey in Nashville's Midtown. They already own and operate seven restaurants -- five in Chattanooga alone.

They've already signed the lease to bring the two Chattanooga concepts to Nashville, and plan to open the restaurants side by side in the first floor of an old brick building at 1700 Church St.

"We've wanted to continue to grow in that market, but we haven't had a chance until now," Taylor Monen said.

The current managers of Chattanooga's Urban Stack and Milk and Honey will move to Nashville to head up the new operations, Monen said. She added that the company's growth is heavily driven by its employees.

"Managers, bartenders, general managers, operating partner -- all these people are in charge of the daily operations in our stores," she said. "We grow based on those people. Are they ready? Have we trained them well enough? We wouldn't grow if we didn't have the people to grow with."

The new Nashville restaurants should be open by spring of 2015. But first, the dining power couple is focused on opening a new restaurant on Chattanooga's Southside, called Clyde's.

The tavern-style restaurant should be open by mid-August, Monen said. It will open in the old Clyde's Auto Glass building on Main Street and will include a covered patio.

Once the three new restaurants are up and running, the Monens expect to employ about 600 people, up from the about 400 they employ now.

"It's an amazing feeling," Monen said about hiring that many employees.

And it's not an easy job, said fellow Chattanooga restaurant owner Miguel Morales, who opened 1885 Grill in St. Elmo last year.

"I truly respect those guys and think they're amazing," he said of the Monens. "To spread yourself out like this, you have to be really incredible at producing great employees that you can trust to run your establishment, and they've obviously done that very well."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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