Where: 1825 Gunbarrel Road
Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekends
More information: TheEggandIRestaurants.com.
Source: The Egg and I
A new breakfast restaurant that can prepare eggs 41 different ways will open across the street from Target on Gunbarrel Road in August.
The Egg and I will make its Chattanooga debut in the first floor of a new four-story office building at 1825 Gunbarrel Road, serving breakfast and lunch.
And while eggs are certainly a central menu item, the restaurant also features waffles, french toast, pancakes and traditional breakfast foods. On the lunch menu, customers will find sandwiches, soups and salads. Most dishes will cost around $10, said Jan Barnett, vice president of marketing at The Egg and I.
"We do eggs like a steakhouse does steak," she said.
Chattanooga's The Egg and I will be the 27-year-old company's 105th restaurant and the sixth in Tennessee. The Colorado chain already operates two locations in Knoxville, and Barnett said she expects the Gunbarrel restaurant to be a high performer.
"This looks like a premier location," she said. "There is a lot of great retail, office and homes -- so we get the Monday through Friday traffic and then the weekend residential and church business. I think Chattanooga could be one of our strongest markets, based on the analysis I've done."
The location at Gunbarrel Road has a long and contentious past. Local developer Bassam Issa initially planned to build an International House of Pancakes on the site, but in 2011 the Chattanooga City Council refused to rezone the lot to allow the stand-alone restaurant.
Council members at the time said they denied the request because neighborhood plans called for the area to host mostly office buildings, rather than restaurants. But Issa believes the council voted against him because of statements by then-councilman Jack Benson, and sued the city in 2012.
Issa later added to that complaint, alleging in 2013 that the Council violated the state's open meeting laws while deciding on the IHOP. The Hamilton County Chancery Court offered a split decision on the case in July 2013.
The court decided that the city did not unfairly deny Issa's rezoning request, but did violate proper procedures during City Council meetings. Because of those violations, the court ordered the City Council to reconsider Issa's re-zoning request.
But Issa decided not to try to rezone the lot again, and abandoned plans to build the IHOP. Instead, he erected a bright four-story office building. Issa can lease the first floor to The Egg and I without violating the current zoning. He'll move his offices into the top floor and lease the second and third floor to medical or executive tenants.
"Today, we've done exactly what we wanted," Issa said. "We put a restaurant in that is comparable in service and concept. We want to serve the community with a full breakfast and lunch, and we have a bonus on that by having three stories above it."
The Egg and I is spending about $600,000 to open in the space, which will seat about 130 people. General manager John Harlacher plans to hire about 30 people and should be open by mid-August.
He's confident that The Egg and I's simple, down-home atmosphere will appeal to Chattanoogans.
"When you sit down in our restaurants," he said, "it makes you feel like Mom and Grandma are in the kitchen cooking you breakfast."
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