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Photo contributed from Michael Hayes / McAlister's Deli recently opened on Battlefield Parkway.

McAlister's Deli, a national chain founded in 1989, has opened a new location in Fort Oglethorpe at 2675 Battlefield Parkway. Known for it handcrafted sandwiches, fresh salads, giant stuffed potatoes and its own brand of sweet tea, the deli is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Owner Michael Hayes spent nearly three decades in the trucking business, often at places that were struggling and he helped turned them around, he said. About two years ago, he and his business partners sold a business in Mobile, Alabama, and he returned the North Georgia area with his wife, Patty.

He's lived in several places around the country, "and there was always a McAlister's close by to where we lived and I liked the food. It was always good and always fresh."

After doing some research on the company, he bought the McAlister's franchise rights for Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold, Georgia.

"I'm not sure if we'll open one there yet, but the idea is to open more," he said.

The restaurant is located in the former Holcomb's Garden Center on Battlefield Parkway. It has a seating capacity of 110 and a current staff of 55 people, Hayes said.

"We are thrilled to bring McAlister's handcrafted sandwiches, family-friendly atmosphere and genuine hospitality to Fort Oglethorpe," said Michael Hayes, owner of McAlister's in Fort Oglethorpe. "We look forward to opening our doors and serving our new community."

Hayes said the area has seen a tremendous amount of growth and therefore there is a good deal of traffic along the parkway.

"I thinks it's a good addition to the town, even if I didn't have anything to do with it," he said. "I think the market is shifting to this part of town."

In addition to dine-in options, McAlister's has an app and rewards program that allows for pre-ordering and pick-up.

McAlister's is recognized in the top 50 of the 2019 "Entrepreneur Franchise 500" and in the top three of "Entrepreneur's Top Food Franchises: Sandwiches." In 2016, McAlister's was highlighted by Restaurant Business as the #2 "Consumer Favorite Fast Casual Chain" and by CNBC.com as "America's Favorite Sandwich Shop."

Headquartered in Atlanta, McAlister's Deli has more than 450 restaurants in 27 states.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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