Local News

Story published: 11-13-2012 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Troutdale coming to Jonesborough?

By Lynn J. Richardson
Publisher

Ben Zandi, CEO of Troutdale Kitchens, was in Jonesborough Monday morning touring the historic district and taking a close look at two buildings – the recently sold Salt House and the former Bistro 105 location – in his search for a potential new restaurant site.

Hopefully, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe says, one of the two Jonesborough buildings will be just what Zandi is looking for and will be enough to entice him to bring a new dining experience to Tennessee’s oldest town.

Both buildings Zandi visited are currently owned by businessman Doug Lowrie, who Wolfe says is the master of “redevelopment.”

“This is so important to us as a town,” Wolfe said, “that someone like Mr. Lowrie is investing his time and money in these buildings, making them more attractive for good tenants.”

Zandi had an opportunity to look at some of Lowrie’s recent redevelopment work after discussing demographics, tourism numbers and traffic flow with town leaders including Bob Browning, town administrator; Melinda Copp, director of Main Street Jonesborough; Black Hawk Real Estate owner Steve Bacon; and Wolfe during a nearly two-hour visit and tour of the historic district.

Zandi first visited the former Bistro 105 location on Main Street and viewed the extensive reconstruction work being done throughout the interior of the building as well as in the back of the structure where terraced decks have been built.

He also looked at the second level of the building next door at 109 E. Main St. The two buildings’ second levels could be connected, Bacon explained, by cutting through a shared wall on the top level of the Bistro building.

The group then walked over to the Salt House, which Lowrie recently purchased from Joanna Borthwick, of Johnson City, for a price of $135,000, according to Bacon.

“While the sale price of the building may seem low, it doesn’t reflect the immense amount of money it will take to do the work that will need to be done to get the building in shape,” Bacon noted.

The historic building, built in 1850, was used as a general store and storage warehouse for the distribution of salt during the Civil War.

It later became a successful gift and hobby shop for nearly 20 years, owned by Richard and Lynn Broyles, who sold the building to Borthwick in 2007.

Wolfe says he is hopeful Zandi, who referred to Jonesborough as a “boutique community” during his visit Monday, will want to become the newest member of the Jonesborough business community.

When it comes to both community and cuisine, Zandi is fully engaged.

In addition to juggling seven businesses, Zandi also serves as vice mayor of Bristol.

He purchased The Troutdale Dining Room in Bristol just over a decade ago and has since expanded his family of restaurants and catering services to include six additional entities including Troutdale Bistro, House on Main, Hale Springs Inn, Burger Bar, Troutdale at Johnson City Country Club and Troutdale Catering.

Zandi has been in the dining industry for more than 30 years, is responsible for up to $75 million in annual sales and has supervised up to 1,200 associates at a given time.