published Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The Melting Pot fondue restaurant wants to return to Chattanooga

  • photo
    The Melting Pot offered this fondue fusion plate when it originally opened in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Despite its initial failure in the market, officials with The Melting Pot said Tuesday they want to return the fondue restaurant chain to Chattanooga with a new franchisee.

The Melting Pot closed its Chattanooga restaurant near Hamilton Place mall in September 2012 after three years of operation.

But the parent company says there is still an opportunity "for the right franchisee partner to potentially reopen the former location or open a new Melting Pot restaurant at a new site in the market."

The former Melting Pot at 2553 Lifestyle Way is located in a 15,080-square-foot shopping center owned by Chattanooga commercial developer Napier Associates.

Mike Lester, president of the Tampa-based restaurant chain, said Chattanooga is one of a number of markets where the company is looking to recruit qualified new franchisees. Currently, The Melting Pot has Tennessee restaurants in Gatlinburg, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville.

"As the premier fondue restaurant of choice for nearly 40 years, The Melting Pot offers a unique business opportunity for entrepreneurs," Lester said. "We've seen a strong interest in our brand in Chattanooga and we're looking forward to bringing our one-of-a-kind polished casual dining experience back to the community."

The Melting Pot operates more than 135 restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and has more than 25 locations in development internationally.

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