Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant readies move into downtown Chattanooga
Andy Marshall had hoped by now that Chattanoogans would be enjoying his signature blend of food and music at the newest Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant in downtown Chattanooga.
But like the slow-cooked meats that have helped make his restaurants a favorite in Middle Tennessee, Marshall says that retrofitting downtown buildings into new restaurant space takes time.
"It's never as quick or easy as you might like, but this is no different than any of the restaurants I've opened," Marshall said Wednesday, standing amid carpenters still building walls and ceilings for the newest Puckett's eatery. "I'm still convinced this is the ideal spot for us in Chattanooga. You couldn't handpick a better location in the heart of Chattanooga, right next to the Aquarium and the riverfront, to serve both the locals and tourists on vacation."
Marshall now hopes to have the 6,750-square-foot restaurant ready to open with a staff of 70 employees by late June "at best." As a replacement for the TGI Friday's restaurant that occupied the site at Market and East 1st streets for the past two decades, Marshall is confident Puckett's will be a bigger draw.
With menus boasting Southern heritage for breakfast, lunch and dinner and live music on stage every weekend -- and likely on many weekday nights in the future -- Marshall would like to grow the restaurant into a $4 million-a-year operation. Marshall has plucked the general manger from his successful Franklin location, Max Stephenson, to serve as general manager of the new Chattanooga store.
The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days -- later on the weekends -- and will include live music every Friday and Saturday.
"We'd like to add even more live music during the week, depending upon demand," Marshall said.
The typical breakfast at Puckett's cost $9 and below; luncheon fares average $11 and below, and dinner meals are typically around $18. When top music acts are playing on the weekends, Puckett's also usually has a cover charge of $8 to $12 -- "all of which goes to the artists and help us get some really quality acts," Marshall said.