2 new restaurants slated for site near Northgate Mall in Chattanooga

Staff photo by Mike Pare / Heavy machinery works near Northgate Mall in Hixson on Friday at a site for a pair of planned new restaurants. The location is behind the Logan's Roadhouse off Highway 153.

A Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant is one of a pair of new eateries planned for a tract near Northgate Mall as the area around the Hixson shopping center continues to see a surge in activity.

Cava, a fast-growing chain with 290 locations nationally, is slated to go on land behind the Logan's Roadhouse off Highway 153, Chattanooga developer Bassam Issa said Friday.

"They're expanding like wildfire," he said in a phone interview. "They're doing really well."

Issa said the new freestanding restaurant will offer inside seating, a patio and a pickup window.

Work has begun grading the parcel, and he predicted Cava will open at the beginning of next summer.

The developer said the land also has space for another future fast-casual restaurant concept.

Cava's website describes itself as bringing together "healthful food and bold, satisfying flavors."

The privately held company, founded in 2006, earlier this year filed paperwork for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The chain reported third quarter revenue of $173.8 million, up 49.5%. Net income for the quarter was $6.8 million, according to the company.

The company operates in 22 states and Washington, D.C., with an 82% suburban, 14% urban and 4% specialty location mix as of April 16, according to commission documents.

The company said it believes there is potential to have more than 1,000 Cava restaurants in the United States by 2032.

"We currently have a strong new restaurant pipeline with 100 new sites for which we have signed letters of intent" as of April, according to company documents.

Issa said the restaurant site will have access from Highway 153 as well as from Logan's parking lot.

The strip of Highway 153 in front of the mall to Hamill Road has seen a lot of commercial activity, even as the nearby shopping center has a lot of empty space.

(READ MORE: Northgate Mall looks for redevelopment)

Stephen Lebovitz, chief executive of Chattanooga-based shopping center company and mall owner CBL Properties, said by phone that the area keeps seeing new restaurants and interest.

"We're looking forward to announcing something on Northgate not too far into 2024," he said.

This summer, Crunch Fitness, one of the nation's fastest-growing clubs, entered the Chattanooga market with the opening of a location in the former Books-A-Million space in Hixson.

A 7-Eleven convenience store opened recently nearby. It joined a Miller's Ale House, TownPlace Suites hotel and an adjacent Chipotle eatery among others.

(READ MORE: 3 TownPlace Suites planned)

Issa said the area near the new restaurant draws about 4.2 million visitors annually. That's more than the estimated 2.2 million visitors around the Target and Walmart stores farther down Highway 153, he said.

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