KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A South Knoxville favorite is closing its doors to make room for more development in the area.
Burger Boys will close sometime in the next few months so the upcoming Kern’s Food Hall can have access to the traffic light in front of the restaurant. An announcement on their Facebook page said that owner Andre Bryant remains uncertain about a possible relocation at this time.
Bryant opened Burger Boys opened nearly six years ago on Chapman Highway. The 200-square-foot, drive-thru-only restaurant soon became popular amongst South Knoxville residents.
“I love Knoxville. I love my customer base, we know orders when they pull up, we know them by name, this is not your ordinary restaurant. Their support has just been unbelievable,” Bryant said.
Kern’s Food Hall is set to open in December, and will feature over 20 restaurants, bars, stores and amenities. However, with more people driving to the building, a traffic change is necessary.
“My decision on helping them out, was it’s just the right thing to do,” Bryant said. “When I saw the time and money they put into that place, when they first did it I said they’re going to need that light. Since they opened those apartments up, I’ve seen two or three accidents a morning, people trying to get in and out just in that little intersection. You open that food hall up, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Bryant worked with Alex Dominguez, lead developer on the food hall project, and ultimately decided to close the business to give the food hall access to the traffic light in front of Burger Boys.
“Right now, you would turn left into Burger Boys, so instead you’re now going to turn left into a new driveway. So imagine a nice big driveway with a left out, one straight through, a right out, it will be much much bigger. Brand new intersection, new light,” Dominguez explained.
Dominguez said he’s been discussing the project with Bryant for a few years, and the break from running Burger Boys will allow Bryant to take his business to the next level.
“I think he’s a great operator, a great person, extremely hard working man so I wanted to make sure whatever the outcome was was good for both of us,” Dominguez said.
Developers did offer a place for Burger Boys in the new food hall, but Bryant declined. Looking ahead to the future, Bryant doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, but he is ready to rest.
“I have some ideas that I want to explore but right now what I really want to do is take a break. I’ve been doing this for six years basically by myself, I mean everyday getting up at 5:00 in the morning coming in here doing all the prep work all the way until 6:00, then I have to clean up so right now. It’s just a good time for me to take a pause,” Bryant said.
Bryant doesn’t yet have an exact date for when the drive-thru will close, but says they expect to be open for a few more months. Kern’s Food Hall is expected to open in December, but not all the businesses inside will open immediately.
Aside from bringing more people and money into the area, Tim Martin, real estate broker working on the Kern’s project, said the building also help small businesses.
“Kern’s is in an opportunity zone, which really helps the local operators to grow their business and enjoy opportunities for success with tax benefits,” Martin said.
In addition to restaurants and bars, the food hall will have a nail salon, florist, boutiques and more. Outside the building, Kern’s will also have a 7000 sq. ft. entertainment lawn with a stage, a dog park, a gym and a bike trail.