Beale Street Landing Restaurant Stalls

By Bill Dries

The Riverfront Development Corporation is looking for a new contractor to operate a restaurant in Beale Street Landing.

The Riverside Grill restaurant to be operated by Beale & Second Inc. was initially supposed to open in March and then in April.

Negotiations on terms of the opening of the restaurant were “suspended indefinitely” by the RDC over the weekend, according to a written statement from the corporation.

“This decision was made after consensus could not be reached on several key issues during the final stages of negotiations,” the statement reads. “At this time, both parties have agreed not to move forward.”

Bud Chittom, one of the partners in Beale & Second, opened Jerry Lee Lewis’s Café and Honky Tonk on Beale Street over the weekend at what was the old Pat O’Brien’s bar and restaurant at 310 Beale Street.

The Beale Street Landing restaurant has been booked for several special events including weddings and private parties in the last month and future bookings will be honored as the Riverfront Development Corporation seeks a new restaurant operator.

“We don’t want to rush into a situation based on an arbitrary time line,” RDC president Benny Lendermon said in a written statement. “Rather, we want to make the right strategic decisions for our patrons and users of Beale Street Landing.”

The building still includes the ticket offices and souvenir shop for Memphis Riverboats, the company that offers daily river cruises which moved in in March.

Beale & Second wanted to open before the Memphis in May International Festival begins this weekend with the Beale Street Music Festival because once the festival begins its month long run, access to the landing and the adjoining Tom Lee Park that it is also a part of is even more limited.

Among the items still being discussed when the decision was made to suspend talks was access to parking.