Business partners Brad Pruitt and Mark Amrein, already owners of the successful Bearden Beer Market, are looking to bring the concept to the Choto community.
The pair have a one-acre property under contract, located in Choto Mills subdivision fronting the Northshore/Choto roundabout and across the street from the Markets at Choto, where they are hoping to build an as yet unnamed family-oriented restaurant and gathering place.
“Our background is in real estate and real estate development,” Pruitt, who noted he and Amrein have owned the Bearden Beer Market for a little more than three years.
“It is a side venture that really took off very well for us,” he added, as he explained putting a second local location is just the next step in a plan to build 30 more beer garden markets “south of the Mason-Dixon line.”
The property is set to come before the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission Thursday, Oct 8, as that body will consider a rezoning request from Agricultural to Commercial Neighborhood, which is what Markets at Choto currently is zoned.
Pruitt said at first, he and Amrein looked in Hardin Valley to expand, then saw the Choto Mills property was for sale.
“Within eight hours we had it under contract and were headed toward rezoning,” he said.
Before the issue comes to a vote, both Pruitt an Amrein have been meeting with Choto area residents to answer their questions and address any concerns. “Our success is predicated on community support,” he said. “We are not going to do it without that, and we won’t do anything without residents feeling comfortable with what we planning.”
Already the two have met with the Choto Mills Homeowners Association to present the project, and Pruitt said he is happy to speak with anyone who might have concerns.
Choto Mills HOA president Phyllis Trento said last week, “As an HOA we are still trying to determine what is best for our homeowners. We do have some concerns and still have to talk about it and vote on it.
“We are just making sure we are doing our due diligence,” she added.
Brian Ewers is the project’s architect and is listed as the applicant on the zoning change request.
“There have been concerns raised by the neighborhood that it might be a noisy bar we are planning, but that is just not the case,” Ewers said. “We see it as a neighborhood and community gathering area, and we will serve craft beer, but no alcohol.”
“We aren’t planning any live music, and we will be shutting down at 10 p.m.,” Pruitt added. “Our location in Bearden has been a staple for over 10 years — it’s kid friendly and animal friendly, and we aren’t open late.”
Pruitt may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There also has been concern expressed regarding parking on the property, but Pruitt said the one-acre lot offers plenty of space for its planned 5,000 square-foot-building and at least 50 parking spaces.
“What we are planning is to offer something resembling a barbecue in your best friend’s backyard,” he added “We already have some of the best food in Bearden and hope [in Choto] to offer volleyball and pickle ball, too. We will have craft beers, but won’t be brewing onsite.
“The walking trails and greenways down there are wonderful and would lead residents to us from their nearby homes. But we want the people around there to be proud of this, just like Bearden is. We are really excited about the possibilities, and really think the community will fall in love with it.”