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Business Pulse - Kimmi swings at new opportunity
Mark and Kimmi Taylor are leaving Spring Street after five years and moving Kimmi's Tea Room to McMinnville Country Club. It will be renamed Kimmi's on the Green with a projected July 1 opening day.

Kimmi’s Tea Room is eyeing greener pastures, or maybe it’s greener fairways.

After five years of carving out a niche on Spring Street, Kimmi and Mark Taylor say it’s time to pursue new options for their business. They’re moving to a much more spacious location and taking over the restaurant at McMinnville Country Club. It will be renamed Kimmi’s on the Green.

“This will definitely be something different,” said Kimmi. “We’re very excited about the possibilities and we’ll be able to accommodate much bigger events. We will still have our tea room and do many of the things we do now, but we’ll also have a bunch of new things too. We’ll be grilling and frying so we’ll have chicken tenders and fish ‘n chips. We’ll be open for dinner and staying open much later. It’s a big jump for sure, but we’re ready for it.”

One of the biggest things to emphasize is the restaurant at the Country Club is open to the general public. For years, you had to be an elite Country Club member to eat there, but that rule was tossed last year with the opening of Maple Street Grill, which lasted about six months before finding its way to a sandtrap.

Kimmi said she was encouraged by several of her friends who golf at the Country Club to consider moving her restaurant there. After deliberation, she will be making the move.

June 10 will be the last day for Kimmi’s to be open on Spring Street. The plan, if all goes well, is to open July 1 at the Country Club.

“The Country Club has done a lot of remodeling in the past few months and it really looks great,” said Kimmi, who is working to develop her signature Kimmi Burger as a menu highlight.

With seating for nearly 300, Kimmi says the Country Club location will be a great place for banquets, wedding receptions, company parties, family reunions or any type of large gathering.

Having a thriving restaurant is crucial for the Country Club. Golfers come off the course and want to eat. Swimming pool visitors also want easy access to food.

Kimmi has a wealth of exciting ideas, but the present challenge is to get moved and operational. She said she will be moving all the furniture and decorations from her tea room to the County Club so she can still maintain a tea room feel. That’s a popular draw, as evident by a group of 15 women coming from Chattanooga to visit her tea room next weekend.

It will be a balancing act for sure as Kimmi realizes many golfers may not embrace a tea room, which might be more associated as a women’s thing, so she will be very much aware of what men would like in a restaurant.

Mark said he thinks it’s time for Kimmi’s to undergo some change. From a marketing standpoint, he said cars are redesigned every few years to keep people’s interest and he thinks it’s important for all businesses to stay fresh.

Mark said Kimmi’s has established a solid base in five years and received a lot of “love and support,” but added he thinks the tea room might have reached its ceiling on Spring Street.

Best of luck to Kimmi and Mark on their new business venture at McMinnville Country Club.

What a week For Chabelita’s

It was not a regular week of business for Chabelita’s Mexican Restaurant on Sparta Street.

On Tuesday, the restaurant was seized by the Tennessee Department of Revenue over a payment issue. By Friday, owner Pablo Gonzalez managed to find the cash needed to pay the revenuers and his business was granted the right to reopen.

“I have no choice but to pay,” said Pablo as he made his way to the bank to get the money.

His payment appeased state officials, who granted Chabelita’s permission to reopen. The exercise is proof that you can get someone to pay if you put a proverbial padlock on their business.

I’m glad Chabelita’s was able to hang on because I was fearing, for a brief moment, the restaurant might be done. If that happened, I think it would have put us dangerously close to not having enough Mexican restaurants, when coupled with the recent closure of Fiesta Ranchero 3 next to AutoZone.