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Staff photo by Dave Flessner / Chicken Salad Chick in Hixson has redone the former Karl's restaurant space and plans to open next week. The Karl's sign is to come down soon, the new eatery's operators said.

This story was updated on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. with additional information.

Chicken Salad Chick's newest Chattanooga restaurant is slated to open next week after the renovation of the site of a longtime Hixson eatery.

Relocating from downtown, the Chicken Salad Chick at 5100 Hixson Pike will open next Wednesday in a remodeled building that held the former Karl's Family Restaurant for many years.

Mary Bryant, senior manager for Chicken Salad Chick, said employees from the former Market Street location downtown that closed Nov. 16 have shifted to Hixson, though she's still hiring.

"We'd like to have 30 to 35," she said.

The new space will seat 55 inside and 24 outside, Bryant said. That's a little smaller in terms of seating than downtown because that site had a bonus room, she said.

Josh Patton, the local franchise owner, said Hixson has been on his radar for a while and when he saw an opportunity to expand into a space with more accessible features, he couldn't pass it up.

"Over the past six years, I've learned the importance of creating a memorable dining experience for my guests and I'm continuously looking for ways to enhance that," he said.

Karl's was a 56-year-old family-owned restaurant business that began as the Rebel Drive-In. It closed earlier this year during the coronavirus lock down and never reopened.

Patton said the downtown Chicken Salad Chick's lease was up this year, and he noted the central city restaurant had 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," Patton said earlier this year. "With a lot of buildings empty [during the coronavirus outbreak] and people working from home, it may have a smaller footprint."

When the Hixson restaurant opens Wednesday, the first 100 guests are to receive one free large Quick Chick of chicken salad per month for a year, according to the eatery.

Also, one guest randomly selected will win a large Quick Chick of chicken salad per week, according to the 5100 Hixson Pike eatery that will operate in space that formerly held Karl's restaurant for many years.

Guests can arrive starting at 7 a.m. for grand opening day only. Any guest not part of the first 100 in line can make an in-store purchase and enter for a chance to win free chicken salad for a year, the company said.

In addition, on Thursday, Dec. 10, the first 100 guests to purchase a Chick Special will receive a free Chick Special redeemable on the next visit.

On Friday, Dec. 11, the first 50 guests to purchase a Chick Trio will receive a free Chick face mask and Chick koozie.

Saturday, Dec. 12 , any guest to purchase two Large Quick Chicks will receive an additional Large Quick Chick with their order all day long.

According to the restaurant, Chicken Salad Chick is closely following Tennessee's state and local guidelines for COVID-19 procedures and will open the Hixson restaurant with social distancing measures in place. All employees will be wearing masks and gloves, as well as practicing proper handwashing and food safety protocol, and all guests will be required to wear masks until seated for dining, the restaurant said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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