New Location Announced for the French Market

New Location of the French Market, 412 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, January 2017

The struggles of the French Market at their current location have been well documented. At odds with Rick Dover, the developer of the Farragut, the business has not, by any account, had an easy last year or so. The photograph in this article of the current location pretty much sums up the difficulties. Last month Allen and Susan Tate decided they’d fought long enough and it was time to move on. Of their agreement to part ways with their current lease, Allen would only say, “We came to terms mutually satisfactory to both parties and we are both happy with the outcome.”

Part of what made the settlement possible was the signing of a new twenty-year lease with US Bank for the retail space at 412 Clinch Avenue. It’s a part of the bank building which, according to Susan Tate, has been vacant for fifteen years. It’s a couple of doors down from Kaizen, Jesse Newmister’s very successful new restaurant, and just around the corner from Yassin’s Falafel House. It sort of makes for downtown Knoxville’s closest attempt at an International District.

French Market Current Location, 526 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, January 2017

Interior of the New French Market Location, 412 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, January 2017 (Photo Courtesy of Allen Tate)

The space is being designed by their new neighbor, Studio Four Design, which sits between the new address and Kaizen. It is significantly larger than the current space, with about 2250 square feet on the main level and another 1800 on a mezzanine level. The construction, will be completed in phases in order to expedite opening, with the main floor completed initially and the mezzanine to follow later in the year. Longer range plans include the possibility of receding the facade a few feet to leave covered outdoor space.

One major advantage at the new location is the presence of a basement. This will allow the installation of a 1500 gallon grease interceptor which will service a significantly larger kitchen. Susan pointed out this is significant because it means three cooks can work instead of the one they’ve had at the downtown location, resulting in much shorter waits for food along with shorter waits for a table in the bigger space. It will also allow for a larger menu than they’ve been able to offer.

It’s one of the changes which will align the downtown store more closely to the west Knoxville store. Another being that alcohol sales, both beer and wine, are planned for the new location. The wine will be a first for their downtown store. Susan said, pending all the appropriate approvals, they hope to have French beer and cider on tap and French wine by the glass and bottle. Plans include some outdoor seating from the outset, bringing the total seating to sixty to eighty without the mezzanine.

New Location of the French Market, 412 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, January 2017

They hope to have the move complete in eight to twelve weeks, with a dream of moving in before Big Ears. Their agreement with Dover Development requires them to vacate their current location by the last weekend in February, meaning there will necessarily be a gap of a few weeks between the closing of the Gay Street location and the opening at the new address.

After eight years of building a faithful customer base, the couple hopes people will be patient during the closure and will make the effort to leave Gay Street and find them in their new location. I’m betting she doesn’t have too much to worry about.

Comments

  1. Looks like a serious upgrade – from a place to get lunch to a place to go on date night! I’m happy for them.

  2. Gail Mitchell says:

    Starbucks bad. French Market cafe GOOD! We love this place and are so happy for the Tate’s to have found a silver lining. Awesome people with equally awesome food.

  3. Flossie McNabb says:

    The news about The French Market’s new location is so exciting. I love Susan and Allen’s commitment to downtown, not to mention their wonderful food!

  4. Larry Stewart says:

    Hope they will have great parking, they’ll need it! So glad to hear they’re moving in to a larger better space. We wish them all the best!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      There is some street parking, but there are three parking garages within sight of the new location and another obscured by a hill.

  5. I love that something good came out of a difficult situation and we all benefit!! Thanks Alan!

  6. IIRC, that used to be Line’s Cafeteria. It was very yellow.

    Great news all around, I think.

  7. That’s such a good space and there’s so much potential on that block. So happy for them. Plus — they’ll be closer to the library!

  8. I’m so happy to see something in that space! Back in the 70’s it was a men’s clothing store. My Grandmother worked there as a tailor doing alterations. I climbed that staircase many, many times to visit her while she worked when I was a kid. I can’t wait to go back into that space and enjoy the new life it will bring, and reflect on some cherished memories!

  9. Frank Prout says:

    Hip hip hooray!

  10. Nathan Nelson says:

    I’m really glad to hear they are getting away from the conflict and gaining much needed square footage. I remember a few years ago they were going to expand their current location but then Dover became involved. I can 100% guarantee that I will NEVER frequent a property owned or developed by Dover. I have also contacted Hyatt to advise that they are associated with someone that the Knoxville community is not pleased with. On a more positive note, I wonder if they will have outdoor seating? Not much better than a nutella crepe on a spring day!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      They will have outdoor seating – and they have plans to expand that. I think I mentioned it in the article.

    • Jim Williams says:

      Nathan…what did you hope to gain by calling Hyatt, and by saying that the Knoxville community is not pleased with Dover? Unless you took a 100% survey, your comment is not close to being accurate. I walk out my front door every day staring at a historic structure in mass decay, and am happy that Mr. Dover invested in this building to bring it back to life. You are welcome to your own opinion but you don’t speak for the Knoxville community.

  11. That’s great news. We’ve been concerned that Kaizen (which is great) is in a location that seems to have a problem drawing consistent traffic, so having more options in that area should be a boon to everyone. Even better, the food options expand along with the space!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      I think Kaizen is doing well. I was there last night and it was nearly full on a Wednesday night. Urban Woman and I love that place.

      • It’s a great place to eat and we appreciate the late hours some nights. We ate there on Christmas Eve and had a wonderful time along with several other tables. Very glad they are doing well.

  12. No bet! Thank you for the good news!

  13. Still never eating at that Starbucks when it comes. If I need my fix of PSL’s I’ll walk 3-4 blocks over to the Hilton

  14. Finally, a mutually satisfactory end to the standoff with their current landlord; a “corridor” location between UT, Fort Sanders, and the Convention Center and Gay Street and the “Theater District”; MUCH larger seating and storage space; an opportunity to design a much better use of available space and flow of internal movement; two more chefs to speed service; and (Oui, oui!) French beers and wines for the first time — in an unused space that has been vacant for 15 years! What a fortuitous opportunity! As a steady customer since the first week they opened on Gay Street, I am extremely happy for the Tates and wish these downtown pioneers continued success in every aspect of their new beginnings.

  15. Aaron Thompson says:

    I’ll be there for lunch often!

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