Opening marks the end of an eight-month construction journey

Cookeville – Every table was full within 20 minutes of Drake’s opening the doors Monday morning in Cookeville.

The grand opening marks the end of an eight-month construction journey marred by weather delays but brightened by community excitement. Drake’s has 22 locations, but according to communication director Leela Atchison, the community is still the most important thing to the growing franchise and staying true to that community-first mindset is the ultimate goal.

Beer – The bar is open

“Although we may be a company based in Kentucky, the local community is important to us,” she said. “It’s important that as we grow, we stay true to that. We want to get rooted in the Cookeville Community to show them what Drake’s is all about. We call ourselves a family. Our team members are family, and our guests are family.”

As for the journey?

“We have been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Atchison. “We started hiring a while back and are really pleased with the turnout. We have a good team here.”

The restaurant opened with 168 employees.

“We have spent the last week training and feel really good about the team we put together, and we are excited for y’all to try it,” she continued. Drake’s marked the occasion this morning with a ribbon cutting.

“We have locations throughout Tennessee,” said Atchison. “Specifically close to here in Knoxville and Franklin.”

She says they have had success throughout what they call “the corridor” (Middle Tennessee), and they have already heard from people about how excited they are for the Cookeville opening. 

The menu is simple, yet not.

“We are known for Beer, Burgers and Sushi,” said Atchison. “Which sounds funny to some people, but it works because there is something for everybody. If somebody doesn’t like sushi, they can get a burger. If you don’t like burgers, you can get the sushi.”

Sushi – Every BHG restaurant offers sushi as an option.

Drake’s is a part of Bluegrass Hospitality Group (BHG). BHG, which employs over 3,000 people, was co-founded by Brian McCarty and Bruce Drake in 1998 and includes 6 “unique concepts” including Malone’s, Malone’s Prime Events & Receptions, Harry’s, Drake’s, Aqua Sushi and OBC Kitchen. Aqua Sushi is offered at every BHG restaurant.

Drake’s has locations in Cookeville, Lexington, Louisville, Florence, Nicholasville and Owensboro (Kentucky), Bristol, Clarksville, Chattanooga, Franklin and Knoxville (Tennessee), Indianapolis and Evansville (Indiana), O’Fallon (Illinois), O’Fallon (Missouri), Burlington (North Carolina) and Huntsville (Alabama).

Atchison says all food is from scratch, and along with the burgers and sushi Drake’s offers sandwiches, salads, appetizers and steak. 

“No matter what you are in the mood for, there is something for you,” she said.

Drake’s joins a rising number of restaurants, chains and shopping drowning the area with options on what Cookeville residents call “restaurant row.” The competition isn’t a concern, according to Atchison.

“A rising tide lifts all ships,” she said. “Everyone benefits from each other.”

Located at 1010 South Walnut Avenue, Drake’s is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to Midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

UCBJ photos.

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