A Chick-fil-A operator has opened what he calls a "kind of pop-up restaurant" on Broad Street not far from where the new Chattanooga Lookouts multiuse stadium is planned.
Nick Goebeler, owner/operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at Brainerd Village, said a limited menu of chicken biscuits, orange juice and water is offered in the mornings each weekday and Saturdays in the parking lot of Restoration Southside Church at 3146 Broad St.
"We're looking to go where the people are," he said in a phone interview. "Everything is made in Brainerd Village."
Goebeler said the effort was started a little more than a week ago. The hours are 7:30-8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
"The reception has been great," he said. "We've seen repeat customers."
Goebeler said he expects to see more traffic when nearby Chattanooga Christian School resumes classes soon, and there will be lots of construction workers at the Lookouts stadium site when work ramps up nearby at the U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site.
The operator said he's looking at potentially expanding the menu to include salads and wraps for patrons to eat at lunch.
While he said he doesn't have an end date to the initiative, whether a full-service restaurant eventually opens in the South Broad District is a decision by the Chick-fil-A home office.
"It's the corporate entity who finds the real estate and decides where restaurants go," Goebeler said. "I don't have a say in that."
But, he said, he thinks that area "absolutely would be a wonderful place one day to open a restaurant."
In the Chattanooga region, Chick-fil-A operates local eateries at Erlanger hospital, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Northgate Mall and has freestanding restaurants in Brainerd, East Ridge, East Brainerd, Collegedale, Hixson, Fort Oglethorpe, Cleveland and Dalton, Georgia.
There are no full-service Chick-fil-A restaurants on Chattanooga's Southside, but more people are moving into the South Broad Street area, with hundreds of new residences under construction or planned for the area.
For example, a sprawling residential project called Borough 33 is going up at Broad and West 33rd Street. Hundreds of new apartments along with townhouses are under construction on the nearly 20-acre tract.
Also, 60 new townhomes, priced between the high $400,000 to high $600,000 range, are underway on a former industrial tract between St. Elmo Avenue and Chattanooga Creek, said David Tudor, owner of Nashville-based Tudor Building Group.
"It's a great part of town that's coming alive," Tudor said in a phone interview about the project. "It's hitting its stride."
In addition, work is starting soon on about 300 proposed new apartments and townhouses on now mostly vacant land in the Williams and West 27th streets area.
Meanwhile, a Chattanooga firm, DH&W, was picked recently as the executive architect for the planned stadium that's slated to be ready for the minor league baseball season's opening in April 2025.
Officials have said the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Sports Authority would issue up to $79.5 million in bonds to fund construction of the new stadium. But officials said recently that rising inflation is a concern, and it's uncertain when the panel will go out to the bond market.
They said a more firm cost of the stadium will be known after the design process has started and a construction manager has been hired.