published Friday, July 4th, 2014

Downtown Chattanooga's Taco Mac closing for expansion

  • photo
    The Taco Mac sign hangs above the entrance in this file photo.

Taco Mac will close Sunday night for two weeks to undergo extensive renovations and an expansion of the 16-year-old eatery in downtown Chattanooga.

And the restaurant will emerge from the closure with a new name -- sort of.

It will go by its local nickname, T.Mac, from now on.

"It's really exciting," said Michael Cowan, general manager of the restaurant.

He and franchise officials said the name change is just to reflect what customers have already been calling the restaurant chain for three decades.

Physically, the renovation and expansion will grow T.Mac to 6,700 square feet into space once occupied by The Big Chill restaurant, which has shifted to the North Shore. The expansion will increase seating capacity for the Market Street restaurant by 50 percent, enabling it to accommodate 270 guests.

The renovation will include the addition of two outdoor seating patios, a larger bar area, three European-design rotating booths and a total of 63 LED televisions. Along with physical additions, T.Mac's menu will be expanded during the renovation, with new items appearing in mid-August.

Flatbreads, tenders, a new mushroom steak burger, a new grilled chicken and swiss sandwich and a handful of new sides -- including broccoli queso casserole, green beans and roasted mushrooms -- will be available at that time.

T.Mac, which now operates 28 restaurants in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, came to Chattanooga in 1998.

"After 16 years, it's time to refresh this Taco Mac," said Bob Campbell, CEO of Taco Mac's parent company, TM Restaurants. "We're looking forward to the expansion of this restaurant and the excitement we think it will bring to Market Street and downtown Chattanooga."

Atlanta firm ai3, Inc. is handling construction duties for the expansion.

After the expansion, T.Mac will look to grow its staff by 50 percent, going from 40 to around 80 employees or more. Cowan said the store is looking to hire for positions across the board, from servers to kitchen staff.

"We're always taking applications," he said.

Anyone interested in applying for available positions can go to www.tmaccareers.com or go in person to the former Big Chill side of T.Mac, which is located at 423 Market St., Chattanooga.

Onsite hiring will begin Thursday, July 10. The onsite hiring center will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.

about Alex Green...

Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...

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