Chattanooga area restaurant owner’s ventures climbing to six

Fans of Bitter Alibi and Daily Ration can look forward to Lost in Transit and Bad Motive

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ Civil Provisions and Bar owner Jason Bowers is shown with a plate of food in August at the restaurant in Signal Mountain.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ Civil Provisions and Bar owner Jason Bowers is shown with a plate of food in August at the restaurant in Signal Mountain.

A Chattanooga restaurant and bar owner Monday unveiled plans for a couple of new eateries as he received a pair of $10,000 small business grants from the city.

Jason Bowers said at a meeting of the city's Industrial Development Board the new eateries will bring the number of concepts he operates in the area to six.

"People always ask about going to ... other areas," he said at the meeting. "There are a lot of opportunities outside Chattanooga, but Chattanooga and the surrounding areas are so committed to caring about small businesses."

The restaurateur said plans are to open new projects — one in the Chattanooga Choo Choo gardens in a train car that's undergoing renovation, while the other is a concept on Station Street adjacent to the historic former rail station in downtown's Southside.

Lost in Transit and Bad Motive, which Bowers said will open in the spring, will join Bitter Alibi, Daily Ration, Clever Alehouse and Civil Provisions and Bar.

About four months ago, Bowers opened Civil Provisions on Signal Mountain, where the offerings lean toward a more casual dining experience.

(READ MORE: Civil Provisions and Bar opens on Signal Mountain)

Jermaine Freeman, interim chief of staff for Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, said in an interview at the meeting that the small business grant money comes from economic development lease payments assessed on companies that receive tax incentives.

The grants were started during former Mayor Andy Berke's administration, he said, though initially the city appropriated funds to the development board.

Freeman said he believed the last round of such grants were issued in 2021. But now the city is partnering with the Southeast Tennessee Development District, and he's hopeful more grants can be processed, he said.

"I worry about our small business environment," Freeman said. "You look around and see vacant spaces, vacant storefronts as small businesses are still trying to recover from the pandemic. Anything we can do to help our small businesses to continue to recover."

Jason Bowers opened Bitter Alibi in 2014, followed by Daily Ration in 2016, Clever Alehouse six years later and then Civil Provisions and Bar.

  photo  Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ The exterior of Civil Provisions and Bar on Signal Mountain is shown in August.
 
 

(READ MORE: Bitter Alibi energetic place for lunch)

"It's pretty cool to see in just 10 years," he said.

Bowers said the new Signal Mountain eatery pushed his restaurant ventures to about 95 employees. In the next year, that figure will easily top 100, he said.

Board Chair Kerry Hayes asked what the biggest headaches are for him. Bowers said finding the right people can be tricky.

Panel member Ray Adkins asked if he hires military veterans, and Bowers said he has three on his staff now.

"That's definitely something that's always important," Bowers said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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