The well-known firm, with direction from the restaurant’s project manager, Jody Gipson, will fill in the shell of the depot’s freight bay, finishing the existing wooden floors, installing an open cathedral ceiling and outfitting the pedestrian platform, which will become outdoor dining space.
Tupelo Honey Director of Marketing Elizabeth Sims said Wednesday the restaurant will have a central performance kitchen, a full bar area with a working model of downtown Johnson City’s former rail lines and seating for 230 diners.
According to a news release from Mitch Cox Companies, depot co-developer Greg Cox forged the deal with Raymond McBride, president of Mitch Cox Construction.
On the restaurant’s side, Gipson has managed the building of the expanding eatery’s locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Charlotte, N.C., and said the company tries to incorporate some local character into each of its new ventures.
In addition to the model train display, Sims said the restaurant’s team is on the lookout for train-related photographs and memorabilia from Johnson City’s railroad heyday.
Mitch Cox Companies is a major player in the regional real estate market, building, owning or managing shopping centers, residential developments and hospitality projects across the area.
After some delays related to the age and deterioration of the depot, the opening of the downtown Tupelo Honey was pushed back from late 2013 to spring.
Sims said the company is now looking to mid- to late May to have its official opening.