Farragut bids farewell to Aubrey’s

Lack of parking led to safety issue for staff, customers

Aubrey’s Café’s flagship restaurant in Farragut will close for business Sunday, May 15.

The restaurant — the original Aubrey’s that opened 24 years ago as Aubrey’s Courthouse Café — has been at the same location at 102 S. Campbell Station Road all those years.

“Its been a lot of long days and a lot of wonderful people,” Randy Burleson, Aubrey’s Inc. owner, said.

Since Aubrey’s Café in Farragut opened, it had won Taste of Farragut twice and Burleson has opened other Aubrey’s locations in Lenoir City, Cedar Bluff, Papermill and Maryville.

“Their all close by,” he said.

“We’ve been blessed to have been in Farragut all these years but the first part of getting a new restaurant is selling the old,” he said. Burleson is building a restaurant in Bristol this summer. Another restaurant will follow in Morristown.

“We are talking with people in Farragut about a building here,” Burleson said. “We sold this building a couple weeks ago.”

He attributed his decision to close the Farragut restaurant to the lack of parking.

“No matter how much money we spend on the restaurant, we are never going to have enough parking. In the end, we only have 52 parking spaces,” Burleson said. “We have been hard on our neighbors, and safety concerns are paramount. Our kids are having to walk across five lanes to get to work.”

With the closing of the restaurant, Burleson leaves behind memories of good times.

“I remember the first time we did $7,000 in sales,” he said. “It was the biggest victory. We’ve been such a small restaurant, so having that record day in sales was big for us.”

When the old Farragut 10 Theaters still was open, Burleson said he and his crew would watch movies on opening nights.

He was 25 when he opened the Farragut location.

“I just got out of school,” Burleson said. “I had been working for Grady Regas. We had said, many times, we were too young and without any experience but with a lot of great people.”

“Aubrey’s is fantastic,” Paul Rook, a Farragut patron, said. “It’s our favorite place. It has been for 24 years.

He and his wife, Leslee, come here regularly, and Rook said he is sad to see it close.

“Sometimes we come from church,” Dwight Bass, Farragut resident, said. “We’ve made an investment in this place. I like coming here. It’s kind of a disappointment to tell you the truth. Now, we’ll have to go to Turkey Creek.”

“They should not move,” Gary Allen, Kingston resident, said. “My wife and I come from Kingston. She’s going to be disappointed when she finds out it is closing.”