So what am I supposed to do now?
I feel like a teenager, high school diploma in hand, gazing into an uncertain future and wondering, “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?” There’s a sense of anxiety, apprehension.
I say all this as Zaxby’s has announced its grand opening at 511 N. Chancery Street this Monday. The schedule is as follows.
There will be a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. to formally welcome this new restaurant to town. After the ribbon cutting, doors open at 10:30 a.m. so line up early and try to be the first customer served. It will make a great story to tell your grandkids.
The opening of Zaxby’s brings with it a Ferris wheel of excitement. For me, it also brings feelings of sorrow because it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t writing about Zaxby’s and its long, curvy path to McMinnville. I’ve written about it so much, I recently received a letter from none other than Slim. In the letter, Slim said if I want to eat at Zaxby’s so badly, there’s one currently open in Tullahoma at 1900 N. Jackson Street.
Our new Zaxby’s will include seating for 70 in a 3,800-square-foot restaurant. It will be the first for franchise owner Brittany Stuckey, whose father operates several Zaxby’s.
“Although I have helped my father with Zaxby’s locations in the past, this will be my first time spearheading an opening as a franchisee,” Stuckey says. “The residents of McMinnville have been so supportive and I cannot wait to offer them this new convenient dining option.”
As of June 2016, Zaxby’s has grown to over 700 locations in 16 states and is headquartered in Athens, Ga.
Zaxby’s bills itself as an alternative to fast food with a menu that features chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads. Zaxby’s says its most popular items are hand-breaded chicken fingers and traditional or boneless wings with a choice of nine sauces.
The menu offers what’s called “Zappetizers” such as tater chips, spicy fried mushrooms, and fried white cheddar bites. Party platters are available. I also understand the restaurant has some pretty tasty milkshakes with several people saying the birthday cake milkshake is delicious.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the final chapter of my novel that's been years in the making. Somehow, I knew it would end this way.
Medley’s Diner to get new building
In his 25 years in the restaurant business, Billy Medley has been all over the county. He long operated the restaurant in Centertown which is now home to Kat’s Diner. He ran Crisp Springs Market. He’s been in Centertown, Viola and Morrison.
But in all his travels, there’s one place Billy has never operated – in a brand new restaurant. All that is about to change as a new restaurant is currently on its way up behind his popular Medley's Diner in Morrison on Manchester Highway at its intersection with Old Well Road.
“After 25 years, I think we deserve a new restaurant,” said Billy. “Where we’re at now is fine, but it used to be a packing barn and it’s not the most efficient way to run a restaurant. This will be designed like a restaurant and it will be new and clean. We’ll finally be in a building that’s really nice.”
While projections are always tricky, especially when construction is involved, Billy says he hopes to be in the new Medley’s Diner in October. Once the new restaurant is complete, the current restaurant will be leveled to make way for progress.
“We’re going to tear this one down and pave over it,” said Billy. “There will be a little transition period, but we hope it won’t be long.”
The new restaurant will contain two large dining rooms. The main dining room will seat 164 people. A side dining room will seat 125 people and will be used for overflow, or it can be reserved for banquets.
Billy said it will be the same great Medley’s menu people have grown to love, although he will make a few tweaks. He says he plans to offer new items in the evening in hopes of drawing a larger dinner crowd.
“We’ve always had a strong lunch business, but we’ve never had a big night trade,” said Billy, who is in talks with some local Amish craftsmen about building his booths. “We want to keep the money here at home.”
Billy said the new restaurant will be built to last and a place his children can one day operate if they decide to continue in the restaurant business.
“They’ve been brought up in this lifestyle so they know what it takes,” said Billy. “It’s hard work, but it gets in your blood. I love it.”
Billy and his wife Laura own five acres at that location. They have placed two greenhouses in the back and Billy said plans are to offer seasonal plants beginning this spring.
“I pay property taxes on it so I might as well use it,” said Billy.
Taking a chop out of crime
It’s not the best of times when it comes to being a law enforcement officer. There’s tension around the nation and some people have developed a negative view of police.
To lend a hand to our fine officers in Warren County during these trying times, Gary Steele Karate Studio is offering a new program I’m proud to promote. Gary Steele will give free karate lessons to any officer in the law enforcement community as a way to have them prepared for any possible situation.
“We’re offering free extended training if they want to do it,” said studio owner Gary Steele. “We’ll offer them six months free of charge. They’ll be able to learn a lot in six months.”
Gary said he is glad to offer the free lessons as a show of support.
“We want them to know we’re with them and we want to open our arms to them,” said Gary. “This is a small town and we have some great officers here. If they would like to have some of this training, we’re glad to provide it.”
Gary said he realizes police officers work around the clock and often have difficult schedules. He says his studio is open five days a week from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and offers classes in the mornings and evenings. He says classes are available to anyone in law enforcement and that includes local jailers or even correctional officers at nearby prisons.
For more information, call Gary Steele Karate at 473-5425.
Program banks on Senior security
Raintree Manor values the safety and security of its residents and that’s one reason the facility has operated a Senior Crimestoppers Program in recent years.
The program certainly has its value, but it’s not free. That’s where Citizens Tri-County Bank becomes involved. The bank is funding the Crimestoppers program, which includes paying for metal lockboxes where residents can store their valuables.
As a show of appreciation Raintree Manor administrator Kyle Chamberlain presented Citizens Tri-County Bank officials with a handsome plaque on Thursday.
Said George Clinard of the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, “Citizens Tri-County Bank is stepping up to the plate to sponsor this program and we couldn’t be happier. This is a Tennessee bank with a big presence in town and we’re glad to see their commitment to the community.”
Said Citizens Tri-County Bank representative Shane Brock, “At Citizens, we are concerned about your assets and these lockboxes are a way for you to take care of your valuables here at Raintree Manor.”
New place for relaxation
If you’re looking for a spot to grab some intense relaxation, look no further than The Retreat at Center Hill Lake. The 139-acre facility, which was formerly known as Lakeside Resort, offers a place for families that’s alcohol and tobacco free.
Local representative Kyle Thompson stopped by the Standard on Monday to tell me all about the offerings at The Retreat at Center Hill Lake. This includes a boat ramp and dock, swimming pool, hiking trails, volleyball, and a picnic area.
“It’s close enough where people can make the drive to McMinnville, but it’s isolated enough to where you feel remote,” said Kyle. “We’ve come in and given it a remodel. We’ve redone the boat ramp and the banquet hall. And we’re right next door to the Appalachian Center for Crafts.”
The Retreat at Center Hill Lake is owned and operated by Timothy Hill Retreat Centers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Lodging includes 26 rooms which are $90 during the week and $105 on weekends. There are 10 cabins that start at $135 a night for smaller cabins and start at $275 a night for four-bedroom cabins.
The facility has a banquet hall and conference center and bills itself as a peaceful place to have your next function, be it a business meeting, reunion, church gathering, or a wedding.
The Retreat at Center Hill Lake is pet-friendly. Day visitors can fish off the dock or use the boat ramp at no charge. For more information, call (615) 597-4298. The facility is located off Smithville Highway in DeKalb County at 358 Relax Drive in Smithville.
That’s all folks
Enjoy the fleeting days of summer as the school year approaches. Call 473-2191 to report your business tips.