Downtown restaurant could jumpstart growth, River City Co. says
A new restaurant could jumpstart growth in a certain part of downtown Chattanooga according to one downtown leader.
Friday marked day two of business at the Universal Joint on the corner of Vine and Georgia in downtown.
"Burgers, wings, simple stuff and we do it right," said owner Sean Corley. "We keep it pretty simple but we make sure that its good and consistent at the end of the day."
The restaurant is new.
The building is not.
Owner and manager Sean Corley is opening the bar and grill in an old gas station.
"Repurposing an old gas station allows us to redo the whole parking lot into an oversized patio," he said.
It's clear the space was once home to a gas station. There's a patio in place of pumps, salt shakers situated by an old oil can and an old Chevrolet Bel-Air door decades old.
River City Company President Kim White is invested in downtown development.
"I think it has so much character and kudos to the developer for not just tearing it down and using what's there," said Kim White. "I think what Universal Joint has done is great with their outdoor space."
This is the fourth Universal Joint, with two in Georgia and one in North Carolina. All of them are built in old gas stations.
"Nobody's gonna put the money into remaking it as a gas station. It makes for a great reason to repurpose it into a restaurant," Corley said.
White think the restaurant will re-energize Vine Street and promote growth. She said to expect more housing and other activity as UTC continues to expand.
"We've been working to try to get students to cross Georgia and get downtown and I think this will be a catalyst to do that," she said.
"We're kinda the bridge between Market street and UTC campus so we'll cater a lot to the courthouse, cater a lot to UNUM, and the proximity to the college," Corley said.
The restaurant is open until 1 a.m. seven days a week.