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McKENZIE — The 92-seat Rivals Sports Bar and Grill opens in McKenzie on New Year’s Eve - just in time to ring in the new year. It is located at 1916 Cedar Street.Luke and Erica Rawls are …
McKENZIE — The 92-seat Rivals Sports Bar and Grill opens in McKenzie on New Year’s Eve - just in time to ring in the new year. It is located at 1916 Cedar Street.
Luke and Erica Rawls are the owners of the upscale eatery. Rawls said the restaurant will be a family-friendly location similar to an Applebee’s or any other restaurant that also serves alcohol. Everyone who purchases alcohol will first be carded to verify the patron’s age.
Luke’s first job was at KFC in Martin and later at Old Charley’s in Jackson. He said he loves the interaction and fellowship with the customers. He also loves sports, as indicated by the many sports pennants and posters of legendary athletes that adorn the wall. Also displayed are the jerseys of professional athletes Drew Hayes of McKenzie, Patrick Willis of Bruceton, Popeye Jones of Dresden, Avery Williamson of Milan and Chad Clifton of Martin.
Roy Smith is the general manager and has 20 years experience managing a TGIF at Wolfchase.
Luke and Donald Bott designed and built much of the interior, including laying floors and designing the bar. It was a year-long passion and it is exactly as he envisioned it, said Luke.
Luke worked 15 years as an EMT and a critical care paramedic. Erica works as a social worker with the Henry County Health Department. Luke is leaving his former career while Erica will continue working as a social worker. They have three children, Cameron, in the U.S. Navy, Riley, a freshman at UT Martin, and Taylor, an eighth-grader at McKenzie.