Bad Daddy's Burger Bar officially opened its first restaurant in Tennessee on Tuesday with the ceremonial cutting of a giant 10-pound burger at its new Chattanooga eatery to mark what officials say are equally big plans for the restaurant chain to expand in the Southeast.
"We're going to be building probably six to eight new locations a year here in the Southeast, where we see real opportunities for growth," said Nick Leach, the regional manager for the Denver-based Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, a subsidiary of Good Times Restaurant Inc. "We looked at a number of thriving markets to enter to get into Tennessee and with the proximity to Atlanta, where we just opened a restaurant, we knew we really wanted to put our flag in the sand here in Chattanooga."
The new 3,936-square-foot restaurant at 1924 Gunbarrel Road is the 28th burger bar Bad Daddy's has opened since the chain started in Charlotte, N.C., in 2007. Each of the stores is company owned and features the company's signature gourmet burgers, such as the Bacon Cheeseburger on Steroids and the Bad Ass Burger. The menu also features giant chopped salads, specialty sides, appetizers and hand-spun milkshakes.
Although the burger bar plans to offer two dozen craft beer offerings once its beer license is approved and an array of specialty drinks including its Bad Ass Margarita drink, Leach said the restaurant is designed to be family friendly, informal and inviting for fun and food.
The 160-seat restaurant, including an outdoor patio, offers a full gluten- friendly menu and regional chef specials that incorporate local flavors and ingredients, along with a full bar offering an array of craft microbrew beers from regional breweries. The average menu ticket is about $13, Leach said.
"We're a restaurant first with a really cool bar and we're very committed to being family friendly and making this a fun experience," he said.
The new Bad Daddy's employs 140 full- and part-time employees and the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Leach said Bad Daddy's might consider another Chattanooga location in Hixson, depending on the success of its unit in East Brainerd.
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar is one of three new restaurants opening in the $7 million Issa Center on Gunbarrel Road build by developer Bassam Issa.
Next door, Mission BBQ will open its restaurant Friday as the 61st unit in the chain that began Sept. 11, 2011. Within the next month, Uncle Maddio's Pizza also is expected to open in the same center.
"This should attract even more people to Gunbarrel," Issa said.
Leach said Bad Daddy's wanted to be where the retail and traffic activity is "and we're not afraid of competition. I think all of these restaurants should complement each other as much as they compete for business," he said.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340.