published Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Chattanooga's first Cheddar's restaurant opens Monday

  • photo
    A Cheddar's restaurant is pictured in this promotional photo from the company.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    A Cheddar's restaurant is pictured in this promotional photo from the company.

  • photo
    A Cheddar's restaurant is pictured in this promotional photo from the company.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chattanooga's first Cheddar's restaurant will open Monday at 11 a.m.

The upscale casual American restaurant is the chain's 40th location and was built from the ground up at 2014 Gunbarrel Road, across from Hamilton Place mall.

Cheddar's serves everything from steaks to pasta to salads, with prices averaging around $10 per entree. The 8,600-square-foot restaurant can seat 355 diners and includes a patio, 400-gallon freshwater aquarium and double-sided flaming waterfall.

Greer Cos., a Lexington, Ky., developer, owns and operates the restaurant and has hired about 200 people.

"We were told a long time ago we were one of the most requested restaurants in Chattanooga," Cheddar's President Lee Greer said Friday. "That was meaningful to us, so now we're here. We're very particular about our locations and real estate, and it took us five to seven years to clear all the hurdles to build in that shopping center."

The opening of Cheddar's has been highly anticipated by Chattanooga area residents. Some are excited about the new dining option, while others feel that adding another chain restaurant to an already crowded part of town is a bad idea. The initial announcement that Cheddar's was coming to Chattanooga was liked more than 730 times on the Times Free Press Facebook page and shared more than 300 times.

"So excited about getting one in Chattanooga," wrote Kim Vick Robertson. "We have visited a couple in Knoxville, Pigeon Forge and Nashville!! They are really great!"

But Josh Harris was not impressed.

"Way too many local places to eat to even consider another chain option," he wrote.

But Cheddar's has earned some impressive accolades from industry analyst Zagat, which ranks restaurants across the United States. Last year, Cheddar's was named the nation's best full-service restaurant chain and the top restaurant overall for American cuisine by Zagat.

"We hope we make you proud," Greer said. "We're excited to be in Chattanooga."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury joined the Times Free Press as a business reporter in January 2013, after starting with the paper as a general assignment intern in July 2012. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint Hill Times. Outside the newsroom, Shelly enjoys ...

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