Mitch Cox gets Tupelo Honey contract for Johnson City railroad depot


Johnson City, TENN. – On February 20th, management of the well-anticipated Tupelo Honey Cafe in Johnson City brought on board local general contractor Mitch Cox Construction to complete the transformation of the historic Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railroad Depot in downtown Johnson City into a new Tupelo Honey Cafe. New southern flavors will still find their way from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the beating heart of Northeast Tennessee.

After the roof repairs and exterior rebuild of the train depot’s shell, Greg Cox, Prudential realtor and co-developer of the project, worked with Raymond McBride, president of Mitch Cox Construction, to finalize the steps towards completion, including refinishing the existing wood flooring, installing an open cathedral ceiling with exposed beams, and outfitting the existing pedestrian platform.

McBride said, “It’s an honor for Mitch Cox Construction to be a part of a remarkable addition to the Tri-Cities region. We look forward to working with developer Greg Cox and owner Steve Frabitore and his team to introduce Tupelo Honey Cafe to Johnson City in late Spring of 2014.”

“I love doing historical renovation,” said Cox, “And the fact that this project is in downtown Johnson City, for which I have always had a big heart, makes me extremely excited as a developer.”

Mitch Cox Construction will be joining forces with Jody Gipson, project manager for Tupelo Honey, to provide general contracting services while Gipson will provide the oversight.

Gipson has built three of the six other Tupelo Honey locations including the Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Charlotte properties. “Each restaurant is constructed to match its city; we try to graft the building into the city’s existing culture and because of that, no two Tupelo Honey Cafes are the same,” Gipson said. “Transforming a train depot into a Tupelo Honey will be an exceptionally unique experience.”

The restaurant will feature a hearty Southern breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu full of creative Appalachian dishes. With approximately 230 seats, the restaurant will exhibit a full bar, an open display kitchen, and outside dining along the station platform. “We are working to pay homage to the important railroad heritage of the region and certainly the obvious tie-in with the depot. We’ve been on the hunt for Clinchfield memorabilia and are happy to say, we have found a few treasures.” said Elizabeth Sims, vice president of marketing for Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Tupelo Honey serves an average of 633 customers on a weekday and over 1000 on a weekend, according to the Asheville and Knoxville market numbers. Married to the other beatification projects on the downtown docket, the foot traffic generated by the restaurant will have a significant impact on the immediate market. “This project represents one of the cornerstones to downtown revitalization; it certainly has generated a lot of very positive interest,” said Ralph Van Brocklin, mayor of Johnson City.

“We are thrilled to be right in the heart of downtown Johnson City, especially seeing all of the beautiful improvements and additions around us – Founders Park, Tweetsie Trail and ETSU campus,” said Sims. The Tweetsie Trail is expected to open to the public on Labor Day 2014.

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