Troutdale Kitchens is eyeing downtown Jonesborough for a possible new restaurant location.
On the invitation of Mayor Kelly Wolfe, Ben Zandi, owner and CEO of six Troutdale restaurants and catering locations throughout the region, toured two buildings in Jonesborough downtown’s historic district on Monday. While in town, Zandi also met with Wolfe and other town leaders to discuss Jonesborough’s demographics, tourism numbers, traffic flow and amenities.
Both buildings under Zandi’s scrutiny on Monday, the historic Salt House on Fox Street and the East Main Street building formerly occupied by Bistro 105, are owned by developer Doug Lowrie.
Lowrie, who has successfully redeveloped other buildings in the downtown historic district, is currently renovating the former Bistro building directly across Main Street from the courthouse and a neighboring building at 109 East Main St. He has discussed joining the second levels of the two buildings through a shared wall and already added new terraced decks to the back of the former Bistro building.
The Salt House, which Lowrie recently purchased, was built in the 1840s and served as a salt warehouse and general store during the Civil War. A gift and hobby shop occupied the building from the mid-1980s through the mid-2000s.
Wolfe said he invited Zandi to tour the buildings after he learned the Troutdale owner had been in contact with a downtown property. He said Zandi looked at the former Parson’s Taylor property several years ago when it was for sale and he was encouraged by Zandi’s renewed interest in the town.
Wolfe credited Lowrie for investment in downtown buildings that is making Jonesborough more attractive to upscale tenants like Troutdale that could add to the town’s commercial base and bring in more visitors.
Zandi, who also serves as vice mayor of Bristol, is the owner of The Troutdale Dining Room, the Burger Bar and Troutdale Catering in Bristol, Troutdale at Johnson City Country Club, Hale Springs Inn in Rogersville and House on Main in Abingdon, Va.,
During his Monday tour of Jonesborough, Wolfe said Zandi complimented the town for its “boutique atmosphere” particularly along Main Street. “We traded phone numbers and we will keep him updated on our progress on the Main Street project,” Wolfe said.
Zandi did not return a phone call from the Johnson City Press on Tuesday.