There’s a natural life cycle for businesses. Even favorite business change over time and don’t last forever. Two popular downtown spots are going through those changes now.
Central Depot enjoyed almost a five year run, which is impressive if for no other reason than that most of that run was during a global pandemic. Opened in December 2017, they had just over two years before the world changed. Opened by Will Bolduc and Danny Carter, Will bought Danny out in 2019. The bar became a favorite spot for a regular crowd and they gathered one last time on Halloween night this week to bid Will and the bar farewell. I have implied perhaps there will be another project down the line.
Also, as of October first, Don and Lauren DeVore sold Broadway Market to Al Munsey. It’s another business that started about five years ago at is first, small Broadway location. It moved a few doors down, then in December 2019, it moved to its current 900 East Hill Avenue location. Don had some serious health issues over the last year and said he was looking toward selling after he re-opened. For now, Don is plotting his next move while Lauren has become an account executive with Sysco.
I stopped in to chat with Al to learn what brought him to this point and what we might expect from the restaurant going forward. Originally from Knox County, Al has lived on the north end of the county, as well as in Campbell County, which is where he graduated high school. Since then, he’s worked a wide range of jobs, the longest term of which was driving a truck, which he did for about fifteen years.
He said the state of Tennessee loves him when it’s time to renew licenses. He retains his commercial drivers license, is a licensed real estate broker, insurance salesman (he also owns Al Munsey Allstate business on Western Avenue), and now he’s added another business.
His grandparents owned Bill and Peggy’s restaurant off Cedar Bluff for years and he got his start with restaurants there. In the subsequent years he’s enjoyed cooking and get’s tagged at family gatherings to do the cooking. He pointed out that he has six children (from 16 down to triplets who are almost three), so dinner time is pretty much like running a small restaurant. His wife, Jessica, is a night shift nurse at a nursing home in Rocky Top.
He’d recently begun looking for a restaurant to purchase and came close on one in South Knoxville. While he had been working through brokers, it was while reading Facebook one night when he spotted a mention of Broadway Market. He contacted Don who invited him to work with him for a week or more. He enjoyed the food and was convinced it was a challenge he wanted to take on.
The first change he made to the business was to change the name from Broadway Market to Broadway Grill, though the signage hasn’t yet changed. He’s going to back off the seafood and focus on a range of burgers and wraps. He said he’s got a long list of burgers ranging from a barbecue pork burger with onion rings on it, to a Touchdown Tennessee Burger with an orange sauce. For November he has introduced a burger on a croissant, which Urban Woman and I enjoyed for dinner last night.
Another idea he’d heard about, fat sandwiches which is taking a burger and fries, cheese and more and pressing them into a sandwich. He’s going to introduce the idea on a wrap and call it his Fat Wrap. There will also be a corresponding Lean Wrap with more health-conscious ingredients. That will be introduced this week.
He’ll also have dinners for sale, including a pork chop dinner and pulled barbecue dinner. Each dinner will come with two sides. He’s offering French fries, onion rings, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra when he can get it. He’ll have hush puppies and side salads.
But the focus will be on the burgers, which he says you can get any way you want it. He said they are not using frozen meats, but that each burger will be hand-patted and will include eight ounces of beef. He’ll also offer a double if you want a one-pound burger. He also has smaller menu items for children or folks with lighter appetites.
So far, he said customer numbers are slowly increasing. He’s open more hours, including from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, serving lunch and dinner. Customers can dine in or carry out. He said Saturdays are an option in the future. He’s the lone staff member for now, but he hopes to add employees as the business grows.