One-Eleven restaurant owner Michael Lovelady had original plans to turn his building into an administrative office for his engineering company, Correctional Electronic Supply, until he saw all the history it had to offer to the public.
"We found so many historical elements and didn't have the heart to turn it back into offices," said Lovelady. "We took a big leap of faith with the restaurant because we wanted the public to be able to enjoy the history."
Lovelady, who was raised in LaFayette, said the city is the perfect setting to come back to after 30 years of being gone and do something like this.
The three-story building, Lovelady's first historical restoration, appears as if it were pulled straight out of the Historic District in Savannah. With the help of family and friends, they followed blueprints and went off of old photographs to recreate the layout of the original 1906 hardware store both inside and out.
Inside there is the freight elevator that was used in the 1920s to move Ford Model T's upstairs which is used today alongside original cellars and stucco.
The restaurant itself is something to see, and it's the perfect setting for a vibrant downtown meal, but many may not expect to find this in LaFayette.
"It's interesting because the trend was that most people left LaFayette to go to Chattanooga, but we are drawing in a lot of visitors from out of town," said Lovelady.
One-Eleven prepares fresh ingredients with an artful aesthetic appeal and focuses on the customization of the dining experience. Lovelady said his objective is to serve Southern-style entrees but healthier, with the use of open-grill flame and lighter batters.
The atmosphere changes depending on the time of the day.
Whether ordering a freshground brewed espresso with steamed milk while sending off morning emails, a chef's salad for lunch with a game of pool, or the sweet tea glazed salmon paired with a glass of wine after a long day at the office, there is something for all.
As of March, One-Eleven is offering a Sunday brunch with new menu items.
It is recommended to make reservations Friday and Saturday night.