The smoky scent of barbecue will soon cascade down Broad Street, as Sugar's Ribs prepares to open a downtown location.
Owners Lawton and Karen Haygood, who also own Canyon Grill on Lookout Mountain and Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar on Riverside Drive, say the additional location will be similar to their existing Sugar's on Missionary Ridge, with a few new twists.
"We'll have a full bar with liquor, wine and beer, and it's more oriented in that direction," said Lawton Haygood, who has been in the restaurant business for 34 years. "We'll also have bands - not high-powered bands that you pay a cover charge and all that for, just something to listen to while you're having your dinner."
The Haygoods began demolition and construction on the 507 Broad St. site, the former home of Buffalo Wilds Wings, on July 1 and have been putting things back together since. If construction stays on schedule, the couple hopes the restaurant can open by next month's end.
Customers familiar with the old-fashioned style barbecue will also see a tweaked menu, specifically with downtown clientele in mind. An increased array of salads and "lighter items" that still have a barbecue focus will be available, and a mixture of quick and table service will allow customers to either dine on the run or sit down for their meal, Lawton Haygood said.
Two years ago the couple decided they wanted to open a Sugar's closer to the heart of Chattanooga, where there's an abundance of downtown workers and tourists hungry for new food offerings. And choosing a suitable spot in the area came down to a process of elimination.
"There really aren't a lot of locations that work for barbecue," he said, "because you have a lot of smokers and grills that have to have exhaust."
The 7,300-square-foot building has more than twice the amount of dining space as the existing restaurant, and will be decorated in true Sugar's fashion, Karen Haygood said.
Built around a caricature of a 1960s barbecue cook who loves Diana Ross and all things Motown, the restaurant's decor will be "a little shoestring, but with pizzazz," she said.
However, most of the effort put into the building will never be seen by customers, the couple said.
Since quality food and service are what the Haygoods stress in each of their restaurants, they spent a substantial portion of their budget on the location's kitchen.
"Food is still a major thing," Karen Haygood said. "We like to start with the practical, then sort of work our way out."