Downtown getting Applebee's eatery

Downtown getting Applebee's eatery

March 30th, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Applebee's is adding to its Chattanooga offerings with a downtown eatery.

Work has begun at Broad and Fourth streets on the chain's newest entry to the market. The new restaurant is slated to open in mid- to late summer, officials said Monday.

"We're excited to be downtown," said Wade Crawford of franchisee Quality Restaurant Concepts. "We know that's where it's really at in Chattanooga."

The Birmingham-based company already has more than a dozen Applebee's in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia, he said.

BY THE NUMBERS

There are more than 2,000 Applebee's restaurants in 49 states, 16 countries and one U.S. territory, according to the company.

The downtown unit will offer sidewalk seating and "walkup-to-go" service, Mr. Crawford said.

"There's going to be a lot going on down there at lunchtime. We felt it was best to accommodate that," he said, citing its proximity to a big central city employer such as insurer Unum Group.

Mr. Crawford said the eatery will hire between 100 and 125 people. He declined to disclose the investment in the project.

He said the restaurant will seat 180 people inside and 25 outside. Mr. Crawford said the site, which stretches from Broad to Market Street, also will have parking.

Michael Boudoucies of contractor Project Builders said the former AmSouth Bank drive-though at the site is coming down first.

He termed the restaurant unit "a custom store."

"The construction methods aren't the same if we built it somewhere else," Mr. Boudoucies said. "Being where it is, the exterior framing isn't typical."

Mr. Crawford said the franchisee has owned the site for some time and had been waiting for the right moment to build the restaurant.