JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Parson’s Table restaurant was a staple in Jonesborough, but for the past decade, it sat empty only opening occasionally to act as an event hall for small gatherings, but that’s all about to change.
In May, the property was purchased by Stephen Callahan, the Owner of Tennessee Hills Distillery in Downtown Jonesborough, and his business partner, Scott Andrew, the CEO of Rugged American Spirits.
The two are working on a number of projects in both Jonesborough and Downtown Johnson City, but this one seems to be one of their favorites just due to the sentiment of what The Parson’s Table means to the community.
“I grew up in Jonesborough, and I kind of know what The Parson’s Table was in its former days and it’s a big feather in my hat to play a part in being able to bring it back,” said Callahan.
Callahan and Andrew are re-inventing the property with both short-term and long-term goals in mind.
“We’re immediately going to use it for what we’re calling the Tennessee Hills Whiskey Kitchen, which is a food truck or food trailer business, and we’re going to locate one here in Jonesborough at the distillery and one in Johnson City at our new Brewstillery that opens on the 17th of July,” said Andrew.
Within the next four to five months, they plan to open the temporary kitchen to serve their existing locations, but down the road, the two also plan to return the restaurant to its former fine-dining glory.
The property was purchased for $372,000 but in order to get it into tip-top restaurant shape, Andrew said a renovation estimate of around $1.2 million and a timeline of about two years to complete the project is what they’re currently looking at.
Regardless of how long it takes, Downtown Jonesborough is just happy the property is making a comeback.
“Something that’s so beloved and treasured as The Parson’s Table was, is huge for Jonesborough,” said Jonesborough Director of Tourism and Main Street, Cameo Waters. “We still have people who come in daily and say, ‘Hey can I eat at The Parson’s Table?’ It’s been closed since about the mid-2000s, so it’s huge for us for it to come back and just revitalize that building and that space.”
Callahan, a Jonesborough native, said he can’t imagine a better place to cultivate business than his hometown.
“Jonesborough is a growing town, it’s a town with a lot of affluent people in it and retirees, and I think it’s the perfect place to build that business model right here,” he said.