This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.
Bantam & Biddy, a casual all-natural eatery that features pastured poultry from a pair of successful Atlanta chefs, will open this fall in the new Market City Center preparing to soon open on the 700 block of Market Street.
The restaurant, whose name refers to two poultry breed sizes, will help anchor the commercial space below 125 apartments soon to open in the central business district.
The 62-seat Bantam & Biddy restaurant also will include another 18 seats in the building’s air-conditioned atrium and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, along with offering a variety of drinks at a full espresso bar.
“We are thrilled about becoming part of the growth that downtown Chattanooga is experiencing and supporting the local entrepreneurial culture in the city’s Innovation District,” said Shaun Doty, a chef and co-owner of Bantam & Biddy. “Our restaurants are very entrenched in the neighborhoods where they are located, so the true sense of community in Chattanooga really spoke to us. We look forward to providing Southern favorites made with seasonal, local ingredients that guests can feel good about eating.”
Bantam & Biddy Lunch will serve its breakfast menu of biscuits, fried chicken and cheddar waffles and pastured three-egg omelets and burritos throughout the day. The lunch and dinner selections will include a “meat-and-two” option, as well as chicken-centric entrées, salads and sandwiches.
Doty said there also will be a carry-out counter for grabbing a meal on the go, including the popular “Family Meal” (choice of whole rotisserie chicken, meatloaf or 24-ounce herb-roasted pork loin with a family-sized organic green salad, cornbread, choice of dressing, three sides and a half-gallon of freshly brewed tea) that serves three to five people for under $50.
Doty and his brother-in-law, Lance Gummere, started Bantam & Biddy three years ago in Atlanta and now operate three Atlanta area locations and are negotiating a possible franchise in northern California. The two chefs have worked at more than a dozen fine dining restaurants around the world through their careers, and Doty said he was attracted to downtown Chattanooga by the Simpson Organization because of Chattanooga’s growing innovation, technology, and tourist and student population.
The Simpson Organization announced the new restaurant Thursday night during a reception at the Market City Center, which is the largest new residential complex in downtown Chattanooga erected since the 1970s.
Boyd Simpson, head of the Simpson Organization, said he already has a list of 130 persons interested in renting space in the new complex “and we really expect to be full by the end of the year.”
The building also has 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 20,000 square feet of office space that will take more time to lease, Simpson said.
Simpson also announced Thursday that the company will soon begin an upgrade of the SunTrust Bank building next door to the Market City Center, which Simpson bought more than seven years ago. The revamp of interior fixtures, the heating and air conditioning systems and other improvements in the 18-story building “will give the building a fresh and brighter look” and likely cost $4 million to $5 million.
The Simpson Organization has already invested a total of about $90 million in downtown Chattanooga at the SunTrust building, Warehouse Row and Market City Center. The company said Thursday it is donating $150,000 toward the new Miller Park, which is located between the company’s Warehouse Row complex in the 1100 block of Market Street and the two structures it owns in the 700 block of Market.
“We also are working on some plans to use the alley (between Market City Center on Market Street and the offices and stores on Cherry Street) for pedestrian use, and we even hope to offer some entertainment events from time to time,” Simpson said.
Kim White, president of River City Co., said with the Simpson donation, private donations for Miller Park are approaching $2 million toward a $2.4 million goal.
White said the addition of the new apartments in the Market City Center, combined with other rental units taking shape in the nearby First Tennessee Bank and Maclellan buildings, “will make this a more lively and safer area and should help us support even more fine restaurants.”
White said redeveloping the 700 block has been the most difficult task undertaken by the downtown development group in its 30-year history.
River City bought and cleared a portion of the block in 2000, only to have a couple of developments proposed for the site fail to get off the drawing board.
“We had to have the patience, the persistence and partner to make this happen and the Simpson Organization has definitely been the right partner,” White said.
Simpson said they were able to make the apartment and commercial complex work, when others could not, because it already owned the SunTrust building with 400 parking spaces in the building, some of which were not used. The Market City Center has 65 parking spaces but shares the parking deck with the SunTrust building.
The Simpson Organization operates 80 buildings in seven Southeastern states, and Simpson said he is always looking at other potential building investments, possibly including more in Chattanooga.