Restaurant Scene: After 106 years in business, Zarzour’s Cafe is up for sale

Staff Photo / Joe "Dixie" and Shannon Fuller, the owners and managers of Zarzour's Cafe on the Southside, are pictured in 2019. The restaurant is a four-generation family-owned cafe that has been in business for 106 years. Shannon Fuller died of cancer is 2022.

Joe "Dixie" Fuller said he's done. He decided it's time to part with the family business.

After 106 years, the esteemed "meat and three" institution Zarzour's at 1627 Rossville Ave. in Chattanooga is up for sale.

"I've decided to sell my house and Zarzour's as well. I feel like both properties have run their course," Fuller said in a social media post.

Fuller's great-grandfather, Charles Zarzour, immigrated through Ellis Island from Lebanon and eventually purchased the restaurant for $1,000 in 1918.

(READ MORE: Friends remember Zarzour's co-owner Shannon Fuller for her honesty, openness, big heart)

Even though it's classified as a meat and three style cafe with home-style staples like open-faced roast beef sandwiches and peach cobbler, Hamburger America author and host of "Burger Land" George Motz crowned Zarzour's as home to Tennessee's best hamburger.

From reading deeper into his social media message, it seems Fuller never really recovered after the death of his wife, Shannon, due to stage 4 lung cancer on Feb. 21, 2022.

  photo  Staff Photo / Shannon Fuller poses at Zarzour's Cafe in 2018 in Chattanooga. Fuller died of cancer in 2022.

In interviews, Fuller graciously praised Shannon for keeping Zarzour's afloat through the best of times and the worst, including the pandemic.

As Fuller concluded his heartfelt message, he had a laundry list of people to thank, including "everyone who has ever worn an apron as part of the Zarzour's team."

(READ MORE: 100 and counting: Four generations have operated landmark Zarzour's Cafe)

As of right now, my biggest regret since becoming the food writer here at the Chattanooga Times Free Press is that I was too busy eating fried whiting at Uncle Larry's to ever get a chance to have a burger at Zarzour's before something unfortunate like this happened.

Hypothetically, even if the new owner somehow keeps the name, its flea market-chic decor or even its meatloaf with creole sauce, we all know that with Fuller's departure, Zarzour's will never be the same. We also know that nothing lasts forever.

Contact Andre James at or 423-757-6327. Sign up for his weekly newsletter, "What to Eat Next," at

  photo  Staff Photo / Shannon and Joe "Dixie" Fuller, top left, the owners of Zarzour's, an over 100-year-old lunch establishment on Rossville Avenue, are pictured in 2018. Shannon Fuller died of cancer in 2022.