Eighth Serving

Huey’s prepares to open Germantown restaurant

By Andy Meek

Rebecca Bolding and Robert Zeits enjoy lunch at the Midtown Huey’s, the original store in the local restaurant chain, which is preparing to open an eighth location. The Germantown store will be the first new one in a decade.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Huey’s isn’t finished growing in Memphis.

The restaurant group with its distinctive burgers, checkered tablecloths and toothpick-filled ceilings is opening a restaurant in Germantown in about five months – the eighth Huey’s and the first new one in a decade.

And Huey’s president Lauren McHugh said the company, which employs about 400 people, still sees opportunity for at least a few more in the area.

“We feel like there are probably two or three pockets in the Memphis area where we could still expand and not cannibalize the other units that are already here,” McHugh said. “We’ve looked in Millington, and we’ve also looked in Olive Branch. We feel like we still have opportunities in the Memphis area to grow without going out of the Memphis area.”

The newest location will go inside space at 7677 W. Farmington Blvd. that was previously a Super D, which vacated the building in March 2010. Huey’s expects to start serving its signature comfort food there in February. It will hire around 60 to 70 people for the Germantown location, which will have a capacity of about 130 customers.

The restaurant is throwing a grand opening party in February to celebrate the company’s expansion.

Shannon Little, the marketing and events coordinator for Huey’s, said the Germantown location also will feature the largest patio of any of the Huey’s restaurants. Beyond that, the menu will be the same, the Germantown location will be roughly the same size as other Huey’s locations, and it will have the same branding, look and feel – right down to the walls customers can write on.

The restaurant group indeed takes its time in expanding its footprint. The last new Huey’s to hit the market was the location at 4872 Poplar Ave. in 2003. The Huey’s Midtown location was remodeled few years ago, and the company added a patio there for the first time.

When Huey's opens its Germantown location early next year, it will be the chain's first new restaurant in a decade.  The Memphis dining institution is anchored by the Madison Avenue original.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

“You have to keep growing and you have to keep changing to be successful,” McHugh said.

She pointed to examples such as Huey’s adding several heart-healthy and nutritious items to the menu, and how the company has tried to put money back into the units over the years to keep them looking their best.

The company’s Germantown presence, meanwhile, is the result of a combination of luck, seizing an opportunity and long-held interest.

“We’ve done several surveys and gotten a lot of research and data that came back and showed a high population of customers we have that live in Germantown, and many existing Germantown customers have been begging for a closer location so they don’t have to drive such a long way for one,” Little said.

It was, in fact, a longtime, devoted Huey’s regular who alerted the company to the availability of the Germantown property, giving the company a reason to turn its interest in Germantown into something more.

Among the features the company liked and found promising about the new location is the aesthetics of the shopping center, its presence on the corner of a heavily trafficked Germantown intersection, plentiful parking and ease of access.

The company is looking for managers to join the team for the Germantown location, and hiring for front of house and back of house staff will run from November through January.