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Business Pulse - Restaurant tees off at Country Club
Maple Street - inside.jpg
Maple Street Grill will be opening a restaurant to the general public in mid-June that overlooks the golf course at McMinnville Country Club. Mike Zelenak and his wife Chassi are the restaurant owners.

If I was around in the late 1800s, I might have been able to write about the first bicycle for sale in Warren County.

If I was around in 1874, I might have been able to make the deposit at First National Bank in downtown McMinnville.

I may have missed those two historic occasions, but I’m not going to miss this one. For the first time in its glorious history, McMinnville Country Club is on the verge of opening its restaurant to the general public.

The decision comes as Maple Street Grill has cooked up a deal to manage the Country Club’s restaurant. Maple Street Grill has been serving food to Country Club members this past week to get in practice for mid-June when the restaurant will be open to anyone, regardless of whether they have a club membership.

“I think this is a perfect situation,” said Country Club board member John Wilson. “The public will have a new restaurant, someplace different to eat, and I think it will help the club to attract new members while they’re out here.”

Mike Zelenak and his wife Chassi own and operate Maple Street Grill in Eagleville. If you’re not familiar with Eagleville, it’s on the west side of Rutherford County about 55 miles from McMinnville.

Mike first opened Maple Street Grill in Murfreesboro and operated that restaurant from 2006 to 2016. He opened his store in Eagleville in 2014 and wants to stress this is an expansion, not a replacement, to the Eagleville restaurant.

“From what people have told me, there’s always been the stigma that you couldn’t eat at the Country Club unless you’re a member,” said Mike. “Based on the number of calls we’ve already received from people who have heard about this, there’s a great deal of interest from people who would like to come eat at the Country Club. It will be the first time ever the restaurant is open to non-members.”

Mike has a storied history when it comes to the restaurant business. He’s spent 46 years in the industry, getting his start when he was just 15 and working in restaurants his entire life.

He says what makes Maple Street Grill such a great place to eat is its food. The restaurant has built a reputation of serving delicious food at affordable prices. Mike says he expects a $14.99 sirloin to be one of the most expensive items on his menu.

The bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits is an original menu hit, and there’s all sorts of pasta, burgers, chicken, shrimp and salads. Mike says the Cuban sandwich is delicious in large part because of the authentic bread which is used.

Brunch will be served on Sundays, but it will be lunch and dinner for the other days of operation.

In one item which might be confusing, restaurant customers who are not Country Club members will not have access to the full bar. Mike says he is in the process of getting his beer license but that the Country Club’s liquor license stipulates it’s only for a private club so the general public won’t be able to indulge in mixed drinks.

As for when exactly Maple Street Grill opens to the general public will depend on how soon Mike can hire a staff. Hiring employees is not the easiest thing to do in this era of government assistance. Mike says he needs to hire for all positions, including wait staff, cooks and dishwashers.

When customers come out to enjoy a meal at the restaurant it will be the perfect time to showcase the amenities available at the Country Club. In addition to its fabled 18-hole golf course, there’s also a swimming pool and tennis courts. It was pointed out Country Club dues are affordable, especially if you’re under 35.

Business Pulse gives this idea two thumbs up. It will definitely be a boost to Country Club membership and it will finally give regular folks like me a chance to mingle with high society. Yes!

Farm Bureau

preparing to move

A change of scenery is in the works for our local Farm Bureau office on Magness Drive. That office has long been tucked away off the beaten path for more than 30 years on what is currently a dead-end road. There’s no thru-traffic, unless you’re heading to Warren County Animal Control.

But a new day will be coming and that Farm Bureau office will soon take its place on one of the county’s main stages. It will be moving to Smithville Highway in the building near the main fairground entrance once occupied by eye doctor Andrew Dean.

Farm Bureau manager Ron Poston said the old eye doctor office, officially located at 2069 Smithville Highway, was been undergoing remodeling efforts for some time.

“It’s been completely gutted,” said Ron. “From here, I’d say it’s a four to five month project. We look for it to be finished in Novemberish, and by the end of the year we hope to be moved in there.”

As for the reason for the move? Ron said it all comes down to being seen.

“It’s better visibility,” he said. “We considered renovating our current office but we’re not visible here. With as many new people as we have moving into Warren County we need to be in a more visible location.”

Ron said the current Farm Bureau office will go up for sale July 1. It offers 7,500 square feet of space for anyone who might be interested in checking out that property to add to their portfolio.

A burst

Of inquiries

During the monthly meeting of our Industrial Development Board on Thursday, IDB director Don Alexander revealed there’s been a burst of interest in Warren County.

Don said there was a person in town Thursday morning checking on available properties and he added there have been four “real serious” requests for information in recent days. A request for information, or RFI, is typically one of the first steps a company takes when considering an area for expansion or relocation.

Don said the property on Garfield Street which formerly housed Metal Products Company has stimulated great interest. He said representatives from two local companies and two out-of-town companies have toured it. The IDB owns the property and could sell or lease it.

“With construction costs the way they are now, it would be a way for someone to get in a good building with just a few Band-Aids,” said Don of the old MPC spot. “It’s a building I hope we don’t have on our books for very long.”

He said one company that has come seeking information has let it be known it wants to locate in Warren County over the other 94 counties in Tennessee.

In addition to the MPC building, the IDB also has a spec building available at Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison and the old AquaTech building on Belmont Drive is also available. It was most recently occupied by Newell.

Hotel open

by the fourth?

Work continues at our new Hampton Inn hotel across from the hospital on Sparta Street. In providing an update to IDB members, Don said work has never ceased on the hotel project except for one week when COVID and the weather were really bad. 

Don said he drives by the site almost daily and there are always workers there. He said he talked to hotel developer David Hunt this past week and he indicated he’s now hoping to rent rooms by the Fourth of July.

To me, the Fourth seems like an awfully ambitious timeline, unless we’re talking the Fourth of July of 2022.

“They are having the same delays with the hotel that we’re seeing with the Civic Center and that we’re seeing with housing,” said Don. He added that Hunt indicated he was having a supply chain issue with microchips he needs for electrical components at the hotel.

Chamber job

Fair coming

Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Don Vizi attended the Industrial Development Board meeting and announced the Chamber would be holding a job fair in June. An exact date has not been set.

Don said there would be no charge for employers to have a booth at the job fair and he hoped to secure a location where a large number of employers could be present.

The idea is to give employers a way to connect with potential employees. There appears to be jobs everywhere, under every rock. The trick is to get these jobs filled.

More information will be provided about the job fair as it becomes available.

Speculation swirls

at Three Star Mall

It appears the VA Clinic is on the way to signing, or has signed, a lease agreement at Three Star Mall.

During a city Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on Thursday, Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord was discussing his department's budget.

“Our fixed charges will be decreased because we’ll be out of the mall,” said McCord. “We won’t be paying mall rent anymore. We’re out, or they’re going to kick us out, either way.” 

Alderman Everett Brock stated, “I don’t think they’re going to kick you out anytime soon.”

“They’ve already told me,” said McCord.

Brock asked, “Why would they want to kick you out?”

“They’ve got a seven-year lease signed with the VA,” said McCord. “They have 90 days to renovate our area. That clock is already ticking because they signed the lease two weeks ago. It’s a grant they got, so they want us out as quickly as possible.” 

Three Star Mall management gave no comment when asked about the VA coming to the mall.

The VA Clinic is currently located on South Chancery Street and had been in negotiations to expand the amount of space it leases there. USA Gym, which owns the property that's leased by the VA Clinic on South Chancery Street, had not been made aware of plans for the clinic to leave as of Friday.

It's not known if the proposed VA facility at the mall would be in addition to the clinic on South Chancery Street or if the entire operation would be moving to the mall.

Either way, McMinnville Parks and Recreation has shut down its facility at the mall, is in the process of moving, and will be reopening in the near future at Milner Recreation Center.

That's all folks

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