“Its important to have an upscale addition to the West Village.”
Chattanooga's West Village downtown continues to add more restaurants as its newest eatery will pay homage to the century-old building that will house it and new condominiums.
The Old Gilman Grill will open in about three weeks at Pine and West Eighth streets across from the new Westin hotel.
The eatery, which will hold about 200 people with both indoor and outdoor seating, is located in the bottom level of the four-story structure that served as Gilman Paint's headquarters for many years, according to DeFoor Brothers Development.
Jay Raynor, director of hospitality assets for the developer, said the company wanted an eatery with a local feel rather than a chain.
He said the restaurant is the latest in a string of concepts which have opened along Eighth Street, and more are planned in the area.
"When we decided to revamp this area, the design was to have concepts that balance one another and are not alike," Raynor said.
Jeff Sime, vice president of operations for management firm Legacy Ventures of Atlanta, said Old Gilman Grill will offer food which he termed "Americana."
The menu will range from fish to steak to chops, he said. A novel offering for the restaurant will be crepes, Sime said. It also will hold a full bar, he said, calling Old Gilman Grill "upscale casual."
"It's important to have an upscale addition to the West Village," Sime said. Plans are to hire about 75 people, he said.
He said patrons will come from the nearby Westin, but he expects a lot of locals, including downtown workers at lunchtime. Inside, one large wall will offer a view to the kitchen separated by glass.
"People find that interesting," Sime said.
Also, he said, removable windows will open to the street and to the hotel, which was also developed by the DeFoor brothers.
"It's great to look at the hotel and for the hotel to look back at you," Sime said.
Raynor said developers still have a couple of nearby spaces for which concepts are being crafted.
In the three floors above Old Gilman Grill, he said, plans are to put in residential condominiums called the Gilman Lofts.
"Demolition has started," Raynor said. "They're still tweaking plans and layouts." He said the price points aren't known yet.
The Westin hotel, and the other parts of the West Village, are included in the estimated $88 million investment to bring new life to that side of downtown by Chattanooga developers Byron and Ken DeFoor.
They purchased BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's former headquarters, dubbed the Gold Building, and remade the 10-story office tower into the 260-room hotel.
"We've seen a lot of traction over the last six months," Raynor said.
Nearby, the owners of a pair of apartment buildings have said they plan to put boutique hotels into those structures.
"It's exciting," Raynor said. "High tides raise all ships. It's good to have more people come into the downtown area."
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.