Biscuit restaurant, biker store headed for downtown

Biscuit restaurant, biker store headed for downtown

June 21st, 2014 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Biker gear and comfort food are coming to the 400 block of Broad Street, filling out two empty retail spots, one in the Vision Hospitality Building and one in the old Sweet Peppers Deli space.

A Harley-Davidson apparel and gear store -- which will operate under the Chattanooga Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson umbrella -- is moving into Chattanooga hotel developer Mitch Patel's Vision Hospitality Building at 411 Broad.

The Harley store joins Penn Station East Coast Subs, which announced a second Chattanooga location in the building in April. The Penn Station store is currently being built.

The Harley store's opening date is undetermined.

Drew Hibbard, director of investments at Vision Hospitality, said company officials are pleased with the decision by Thunder Creek leaders.

"We're definitely excited about them coming in and having someone with a name that's so well recognized," he said.

There is still one retail space available in the Vision Hospitality Building.

Meanwhile, a small Jacksonville, Fla.-based restaurant franchise, Maple Street Biscuit Co., inked a deal earlier this week to break from the Sunshine State and bring its fourth restaurant to Chattanooga.

Its founder, Scott Moore, lived in the Missionary Ridge community at one time, before work relocated him to Florida. And connections made during his seven years here led to Chattanooga's Maple Street Biscuit Co.

Chattanooga couple Zeke and Shanda Arter will own and operate the local branch.

The story behind the franchise itself stems from Moore's forced unemployment, after he lost his job while living in Florida. He came up with five business ideas and settled on a biscuit-themed restaurant.

For five months, Moore and friends would gather every Thursday evening to test out different concoctions.

"We had biscuit throwdowns," he said.

Happy with a recipe, and having picked up a business partner in Gus Evans, Moore debuted Maple Street Biscuit Co. The restaurant concept has enjoyed success in Florida, partly because of the unique tactic the entrepreneurs had for hiring.

Coming out of forced unemployment themselves, Moore and Evans agreed to pursue folks who had lost their jobs to staff the restaurant.

Chattanooga's Maple Street Biscuit will be the fourth location for the franchise overall, and the first one outside of the greater-Jacksonville area.

The Chattanooga store will be looking to hire staff, said Moore.

Rudy Walldorf, who brokered the Harley-Davidson and Maple Street real estate deals, said the general availability of space downtown and on Broad Street catered to this recent growth.

"I like Broad Street," he said. "It's where the action is in the downtown area."

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.