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Elevated dining: Top of the Rock restaurant opens with brews and views atop Jasper Mountain in Marion County, Tennessee

This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.

KIMBALL, Tenn. — After opening Big River Grille & Brewing Works, the STIR and State of the Confusion in downtown Chattanooga, restaurant Allen Corey and his team at Square One LLC are preparing to open a microbrewery in Marion County.

Atop Jasper Mountain at the entrance to the Jasper Highlands community, the Top of the Rock restaurant and microbrewery will soon open along with the Fiery Gizzard cafe and a general store known as the Mountain Market. The new 5,400-square-foot complex, which features 3,000 square feet of deck space overlooking the Tennessee River, will open on Oct. 28 with one of the best mountaintop views of any restaurant in East Tennessee.

"This has one central kitchen to serve both the cafe and restaurant, but it's really three distinctive areas all in one to serve both the local residents and the visitors we think will come from a wide area to want to experience what we have here," Corey said.

The upscale restaurant is located just outside of the gated entrance to the Jasper Highlands, the 8,893-acre mountaintop development by Chattanooga developer John "Thunder" Thornton. A cafe will offer breakfast and lunch items and a convenience store will provide staples to the growing community atop the mountain. But the restaurant should draw patrons from a wide area with its distinctive menu, beer and mountaintop views.

"Top of the Rock is more than a restaurant; it's a culinary experience that will pair world-class dishes with a unique mountain view that can only be found in Tennessee," Thornton said.

On the menu

* The dinner entrees include chicken piccata, shrimp & grits, pecan crusted rainbow trout, miso salmon bowl, grilled filet mignon, burrito bowl and seared shrimp, ranging in price from $13.95 to $29.95

* Lunch items include a variety of salads, sandwiches and sides, including a 10-ounce smash burger and sliced pork sandwiches ranging from $10.95 to $13.95

* The house craft beers made on site include an IPA, Red Ale, Kolsch, wheat and stout along with rotating seasonal beers along with a variety of cocktails and wines

* Breakfast entrees include egg & cheese breakfast biscuit, grilled veggie wrap, avocado toast and breakfast burritos priced form $5.95 to $7.50.

* Sunday brunch, served Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., includes shrimp & grits, chicken picatta, country Benedict, chicken & eggs, avocado toast, burrito bowl and breakfast burgers ranging from $13.95 to $17.95 with $1 mimosas and $5 Bloody Mary drinks.

The menu features made-from-scratch dishes including Grilled Filet Mignon, Shrimp & Grits, Chili Peach Shrimp and Brewery Nachos. The new microbrewery has begun making beer and, once the restaurant is open, will serve six house beers, including a rotating seasonal brew, in addition to unique cocktails and extensive wine offerings.

"We'll have the freshest beer in the county," said Robert Werk, chief operating officer for Square One.

The restaurant includes indoor and outdoor seating and will accommodate 150 diners at a time. Top of the Rock will also be available for private events such as wedding receptions, parties and reunions.

"It's a fantastic new restaurant with a really unique craft microbrewery attached to it and the best views anywhere," said Fletcher Thompson, an executive of Square One LLC and general manager for Top of the Rock who also oversees the STIR and State of Confusion in Chattanooga.

The complex is erected near the Pat Summitt pavilion that overlooks the Cumberland Plateau and valley and has hosted weddings and other special events in the past. The new restaurant will cater such events, including this fall's home buyers tour next weekend at Jasper Highlands.

"There aren't many dining opportunities like this in our area," said Dane Bradshaw, president of Thunder Enterprises. "Our residents and neighbors have been waiting for an elevated dining experience for years. We look forward to sharing our impressive menu and vibrant atmosphere that can't be beat."

Workers are still finalizing the new restaurant, which includes a 16,000-pound sandstone at its entrance to welcome guests and a giant outdoor deck that can be heated or covered in the winter. The new restaurant, cafe and store are owned by Thunder Enterprises, but they were designed and developed by Square One LLC, the Chattanooga-based restaurant that has operates eight restaurants in Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida. The firm has also been a consultant for other restaurant projects, including the von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall which opened in 2010 in Stowe, Vermont as another mountaintop microbrewery.

Werk said about 35 workers are being trained to staff the new facilities.

Bradshaw said by the end of the year he expects about 300 people will be living atop Jasper Mountain and many of them are eager for a cafe, restaurant and store on the mountain. About 800 lots have already been sold at Jasper Highlands, which ultimately could include twice that number.

Jasper Highlands is a residential development that features scenic hiking trails and overlooks, a recreational center with swimming pool and a state-of-the-art wellness center. When fully developed, the complex is expected to exceed $500 million in investment.

"This really puts a bow on our package of offerings and with the new restaurant, cafe and store there really isn't any box we don't have checked for what people are wanting in a master plan community like this," Bradshaw said.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 757-6340.