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Kern’s Food Hall plans to add vendors, speakeasy, hotel in Knoxville

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A new stoplight project in the coming months on Chapman Highway will provide a smoother entrance to Kern’s Food Hall, which has more in store for customers as the South Knoxville hangout continues to grow in popularity.

The stoplight approved by the Knoxville City Council this week will push the food hall’s entrance further south to the intersection of Chapman Highway and Fort Avenue near Burger Boys, which plans on closing to make room for the project.

To enter Kern’s Food Hall from the north under the current configuration, drivers have access to a center turning lane but must cross in front of oncoming traffic without a stoplight to rely on.

The food hall, located just south of the Henley Street Bridge at 2201 Kerns Rising Way, will add a new entrance lane, two exit lanes and new crosswalks near the stoplight.

But these infrastructure improvements are not the only new amenities coming to Kern’s Food Hall

New vendors coming to Kern’s Food Hall

Phase one of the food hall project opened in April with just a few vendors after years of construction at the former Kern’s Bakery site. Additional vendors have opened steadily since then.

Kern’s developer Alex Dominguez shared with Knox News details about the next few vendors planning to come online:

  • Amaryllis Taqueria: The Tex-Mex taco concept will open within the next two weeks at Kern’s Food Hall. And yes, you can order a margarita, too.
  • Basement lounge: Another Kern’s development still under wraps is a cocktail lounge in the basement, the first of multiple vendors expected to open in the underground space.
  • Shhh, it’s a secret to everyone: One of Kern’s big secrets is a speakeasy. Details are sparse, but we do know you’ll need a code to enter.
  • Clean Smoke BBQ: Clean Smoke BBQ began as a food truck and plans to open its first permanent location at Kern’s this summer. The restaurant and bar will serve Texas-style barbecue cooked on live fire grills. Joseph Root operates both Clean Smoke BBQ and Amaryllis Taqueria.
  • Eggspectations: Eggspectations is working on permits to become an anchor at Kern’s. This international concept will open in a 5,000-square-foot space.
  • The French Cookie: This concept is in the design phase and plans to open in late summer. The French Cookie opened its first location in Cookeville last year.
  • T. Ralph’s Burgers: The concept is still under construction at Kern’s.

Big ideas at Kern’s Food Hall include a South Knoxville hotel

Beyond new vendors, Kern’s food hall has big ideas for the sprawling property.

  • Long term: Dominguez said Kern’s is considering opening a dog park or dog spa, finding a new use for the building’s historic silos and incorporating an arts trail on the property.
  • Possible hotel: Domiguez talked about the possibility of building a hotel on what’s now a gravel lot near Kern’s. It’s not something Kern’s needs to do, he said, but it could be “fun and inviting.” If the hotel happens, it might not be built for another two years.

Keenan Thomas reports for the Knox News business growth and development team. You can reach him by email at [email protected].

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