This story was updated Monday, August 3, 2020, at 5:40 p.m. with more information.
Chicken Salad Chick plans to open a Hixson site as it relocates its downtown Chattanooga restaurant this fall.
Josh Patton, who owns and operates the Chicken Salad Chick eateries in Chattanooga, said the Hixson location will go where Karl's restaurant operated for many years at 5100 Hixson Pike just beyond Northgate Mall.
"We'll have a free-standing Chicken Salad Chick there," he said. "It has got great visibility. It's quite large."
Patton said the new eatery will have seating for 54 inside and about 40 patrons outside on a 700-square-foot patio. Also, the restaurant will offer a drive-thru, he said.
Chattanooga businessman Tommy Austin, who owns the Karl's space, said Chicken Salad Chick will do well there because there's nothing else like it in Hixson and it will serve people from North Chattanooga to Soddy-Daisy.
"It gives those people a place to quickly and easily get that type of food," he said.
Patton said the downtown eatery's lease is up this year, noting the restaurant has struggled amid parking and other issues. That restaurant opened about six years ago in the Miller Building at Market and Seventh streets.
"I'm still open to having a downtown presence," he added. "With a lot of buildings empty [during the coronavirus outbreak] and people working from home, it may have a smaller footprint."
Patton said the new Hixson space will open likely in October and November and the downtown eatery will relocate then.
Karl's was one of Hixson's oldest restaurants when it closed earlier this year, ending a 56-year-old family-owned restaurant business.
Owner Karl Koeninger and his wife Jimmie decided against trying to reopen the family diner after it was shut down along with other restaurants on March 19 due to the pandemic.
Patton said that building the large outdoor seating area at the Hixson site makes sense given the outbreak, and there is quite a bit of parking as well.
"It checks all of our boxes," he said.
Patton said plans are to hire about 10 more employees as the existing downtown workforce transitions to Hixson.
"They're excited. Some part-time employees will probably get more hours," he said.
Chicken Salad Chick will have the Hixson, Gunbarrel Road and Erlanger locations after the move, Patton said.
He said the coronavirus "has not crushed us. We're still looking to grow."
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.