New Restaurant Planned for 1147 Sevier Avenue, Just Across the River

Daniel Crowder, Co-Owner, Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Daniel Crowder, Co-Owner, Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

It’s an area I’ve written about several times recently and which is likely heading toward being a very cool just-over-the-river node that will have downtown residents walking and biking over the Gay Street Bridge to join our Island Home neighbors for a beer, a cup of coffee or a meal. Suttree Landing Park began construction in July and will have an entrance very close to the spot where Sevier Avenue makes its turn to the southeast and Island Home neighborhood begins. A roundabout is planned for the spot, along with other streetscape improvements and Alliance Brewing Company has already opened across the street, soon to be followed by Three Bears Coffee.

In the middle of everything just mentioned is a former home at 1147 Sevier which, for many years, hosted a branch of the Civil Air Patrol. A battered Tennessee state flag still flies from the pole out front and a large radio tower rises from the back. Outside of those touches and the lettered sign on the door noting the former inhabitants, the exterior of the home looks much as it did when it was built, sometime around the 1920s. It’s the site for a planned new restaurant, which will be owned and operated by Zach and Hao Land and Daniel “Bull” Crowder, who many of you know as the owner/operator of Bull’s BBQ Truck.

Bull's BBQ Food Truck (Photo Courtesy of Bull's BBQ)

An unlikely journey brought the three together in the new venture. Daniel grew up in Johnson City, Zach in Seymour and Hao in Chattanooga. The common denominator proved to be UT, but Zach’s degree in Audio Engineering, Hao’s MFA and Daniel’s degree in political science didn’t suggest the three were destined to open a restaurant together.

After graduation, Daniel, who noted he was on the six-and-a-half-year plan, didn’t want to teach, so he decided to do something he knew from his father: barbecue. He started in a trailer (now containing Dale’s Fried Pies) and eventually moved to a small school bus which he got for the amazing price of $1700 and he was in business. Hao, her art degree in tow, became a manager at Preservation Pub where she stayed for a number of years. Zach, after a stint in Orlando, returned to Knoxville and worked at Jewelry TV until he had to make a change and he accepted a friend’s offer to work at La Costa when it was on Market Square.

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Daniel Crowder, Co-Owner, Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Daniel Crowder, Co-Owner, Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

With the three involved in the food industry in one way or another, the wheels were set in motion. Zach left La Costa and worked at Le Parigo when it was out west and then for a year while it was downtown. While he eventually went to work for Jupiter Entertainment where he currently works, he and Hao began talking of opening their own restaurant. Daniel had set a brick and mortar restaurant as his goal, as well. They met, by all accounts, when Zach and Hao crashed Daniel’s Halloween party, but it took mutual friend, Bob Hess, to tell each of them of the others’ plans, which led them to get together.

The three began to explore their  mutual food interests. Hao and Zach bought various kitchen equipment and began exploring. The three were all interested in Asian food and experimented with ramen, which became a staple of Daniel’s offering in the food truck. They used his experience with smoking foods to shape some Asian recipes in a new direction.

A friend noticed that 1147 Sevier Avenue had gone on the market and the three set out to buy it, thinking they had an understanding before realizing it had been purchased by Brett Honeycutt and Jan Conley – who they did not know, but met. It became clear that this was a great development, as Brett and Jan – who also own the building across the street now housing Alliance and Three Bears – were more interested in the back portion of the land connected to the house. The two agreed to sell the front portion containing the  house to the three and the restaurant began to take shape. The original deal was written on a napkin at Suttee’s over a beer.

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

The three live in South Knoxville, very near the new location and wanted very much to be a part of their community and to improve it with a new business. While the location is immediately outside the new park and offers easy access to the Urban Wilderness, it’s also a very short bike ride from downtown. I got there in ten minutes from the heart of downtown and friends of mine walked over on Sunday afternoon, so it’s also an addition to amenities for downtown residents.

The two-story home still boasts a few of its original architectural details. The facade will be restored first, hopefully with the help of a facade grant from the city. Interior work will remove the 70s paneling and some of the walls to open up space inside. The beautiful stairwell will be preserved, but part of the chimney will likely go.

Intended as a restaurant for the families in the area, games are planned for the front yard, while a bar will be installed on the ground floor of the home, with plans to offer craft and high-gravity beer along with a very good bourbon selection. The food will not be the barbecue I assumed they would offer, though there will likely be some smoked meat.

Daniel has catered two ramen dinners at public house which were well received and he plans for that to be a part of the new menu. He’s been working with noodles for a couple of years and will be involved in the Knoxville Noodle Bowl Festival at the Blue Slip Winery this Wednesday, the sixteenth. He makes a version of tonkotsu, includes kombu and shiitake mushrooms and takes 48 hours to prepare. He uses alkaline water to make noodles that hold up to the broth. He assures me, and after talking to him, I believe, his creation has nothing to do with the little packages we all remember from college.

Site of Proposed Restaurant, Civil Air Patrol, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

Site of Proposed Restaurant, 1147 Sevier Ave., Knoxville, September 2015

The three have worked on other recipes which they plan to introduce and have completed much of the pre-application process with the city. As they continue to tie up a few loose ends, they hope to have the facade work underway by late fall and begin taking bids from contractors for the interior work. Forrest Kirkpatrick is doing the design work for them and once plans are approved and a contractor is in place, the build-out should not take long.

They hope to open at least the bar portion by the first of the year and Daniel said, “by the time spring rolls around we should be ready to rock and roll.” Zach pointed out that the name (as opposed to a name with “barbecue” or “Asian” included) leaves them with the flexibility to respond to what works and to shape the menu accordingly. Initial hours should be roughly 3:00 PM to midnight, but as the park becomes more utilized the group will gauge the demand for lunch.

 

Comments

  1. I love that building! Very excellent news!

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