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Residents of McKenzie have a new dining option in historic downtown since the November 17 opening of McKenzie Station Bar and Grill, a family-friendly restaurant with a full-service bar.Located at 5 …
Residents of McKenzie have a new dining option in historic downtown since the November 17 opening of McKenzie Station Bar and Grill, a family-friendly restaurant with a full-service bar.
Located at 5 Broadway, the eatery offers American cuisine, including burgers, steak, chicken and shrimp, plus bar favorites such as wings and appetizers.
Owners Joe and Denise Sam are retired educators who were looking for a way to fill their time and offer something new and unique to their community.
Denise retired from McKenzie High School’s Special Education staff in 2016 and Joe retired from Bethel University’s Department of Natural Sciences in 2019.
In 2015, they purchased the corner building, which was constructed in 1898. The ground floor was home to J.P. Cannon and Sons Drug Store from 1899 until 1947. Upper floor tenants included the telephone company, the office of Dr. Jeff D. Reddick, D.D.S. and the office of Dr. Harris T. Collier, M.D. In the years since, 5 Broadway has housed Gwaltney’s Men’s Wear, Jim Alexander Insurance and West and West Law Office.
The Sams considered several options, including a crafts store, art gallery or hobby shop. A common refrain from local citizens and city officials was that McKenzie could use a sports bar, so they began the extensive renovations needed in early 2019.
During the construction, they decided to design and name the restaurant after the city’s origins as a major intersection of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis and Louisville and Nashville rail lines.
The bar and furnishings are all hardwood. The tables, benches and booths were all built by Joe himself. The original brick interior walls are adorned with railroad paraphernalia, and model trains from Joe’s collection circle above the dining area.
After decades in education, the restaurant business is quite a change for the Sams, but they credit the contributions of family and friends in getting McKenzie Station off the ground.
Denise told The Banner, “It’s an exciting new endeavor for us. We’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time, and we continue to learn ways to better serve our customers. We can’t begin to express our gratitude for the support from the community and the City of McKenzie.”
Joe and Denise reside in McKenzie. They have five adult children and six grandchildren.
McKenzie Station Bar and Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. Patrons can make reservations for parties of seven or more or place carryout orders at 731-393-0122.
The restaurant will remain open until 1 p.m. on New Year’s Eve with live music by The Blue Train Trio from 7 p.m. until after midnight.