In what can be seen as a casualty of Southside’s Boujee-fication, two restaurants with a combined 50 years in the neighborhood were forced to close.
Porker’s BBQ ended it’s run after nearly three decades on Market Street. Considered a Chattanooga institution, Porker’s once hosted President George W. Bush and actor Samuel L. Jackson. But as of August, Porker’s BBQ went belly-up, a victim of soaring rents in Chattanooga’s uber-hip Southside neighborhood.
“My lease came up and there was a rent hike I couldn’t afford to pay,” lamented owner Beau Tucker in an interview with the Chattanoogan. “The way to make money in restaurants now is to charge $15 or $20 a plate. I don’t have a conscience to charge $20 for a $10 plate of barbecue.”
While it’s sad when any restaurant closes, Tucker didn’t have to go so far as price-shame people like me for enjoying upscale, contemporary dining concepts. Some of can afford to pay $20 for a $10 plate of BBQ. And I’ll go you one further… some of us find it reassuring to pay twice as much as we need to for things. It usually means the things we’re buying are twice as good.
Anyways! Just up the block from Porker’s, another beloved Chattanooga institution announced it’s closing its doors too. “We are deeply disappointed to end the twenty years of this endearing place,” the restaurant announced via SocMe. They explained how their lease was lost and the search for a new new owner and a new location had fallen through.
It’s indeed sad to see a beloved hometown favorite close after a generation in the community, let alone two on the same block in the same month. But to be honest, I hadn’t taken the time to visit either of those places yet. I’ve been far too busy hitting up all the sleek and sexy new places that are popping up all over Southside. The best part about finding a new restaurant is leaving it to find another one. If there are 365 days in a year, then as far as I’m concerned, Chattanooga needs 365 restaurants.
Speaking of new restaurant opportunities, I hear there’s two prime locations about to open up on Market Street. So if any ambitious restauranteurs need advice on opening Chattanooga’s first placenta restaurant, hit me up!