Blake Shelton, Ryman to open Ole Red venue in Gatlinburg
- https://www.blakeshelton.com/news/blake-shelton-ryman-open-ole-red-venue-gatlinburg-2641Blake Shelton, Ryman to open Ole Red venue in Gatlinburg
Blake Shelton plans to open his third Ole Red restaurant and entertainment complex, this time in Gatlinburg, in partnership with Ryman Hospitality Properties.
Shelton, a Grand Ole Opry member, multiple award winner and coach on “The Voice,” opened his first Ole Red in his hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, in September 2017, according to a Ryman news release. His second location, on Nashville’s Lower Broadway, is expected to open in May.
Ryman Hospitality is planning a Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event space called Ole Red, which will go down as the most expensive entertainment project on lower Broadway. Nate Rau, Kyleah Starling/The Tennessean
Shelton and Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties president and CEO, announced the new location in a Facebook Live broadcast on Ole Red Nashville’s page. It was watched by about 1,500 people at the time.
Reed said he hopes to open the Gatlinburg location in February or March of 2019. It should resemble the soon-to-open Ole Red Nashville, but without a rooftop bar, he said.
“Gatlinburg is one of my all-time favorite places,” Shelton said in a news release. “This part of the country is full of people who love good food, great music, family and most importantly, a good time. That’s what Ole Red is all about, and I can’t wait to give my fans another place to have fun in Gatlinburg.”
Shelton said he hopes to further expand Ole Red with more locations, though none have been determined.
“Gatlinburg, it’s definitely a fun party town, but it’s kind of got a country atmosphere, so it’s basically a no-brainer,” he said on Facebook Live. Shelton said he wants Ole Red to add more of a late-night party feel to Gatlinburg.
The business name comes from his 2002 hit song “Ol’ Red.” The Gatlinburg location will be at 511 Parkway, currently the largely vacant Riverbend Mall. Plans call for renovating the existing building, a $9 million effort to turn it into a 16,000-square-foot multi-level attraction, with a two-story bar and restaurant, retail space, performance venue, dance floor and outside terrace, according to Ryman Hospitality Properties.
“With 12 million annual visitors and a rich country music legacy, Gatlinburg is an ideal destination for the Ole Red brand,” Reed said in a news release. “We know the Smoky Mountain region is tremendously popular with country lifestyle consumers, and we believe Ole Red offers a unique entertainment experience that will attract even more visitors to the area.”
While Ole Red will feature lots of music, its primary driver will be food and drink sales, according to the company. The menu will include Hot Chicken & Waffles, barbecue, burgers and other Southern-style fare.
Construction is expected to take about nine months, according to a Ryman spokesperson. The attraction is expected to employ about 150, a mix of full- and part-time, according to Ryman. Job announcements will be posted at www.olered.com/gatlinburg and on social media. No state or local incentives are involved in the project, according to a Ryman Hospitality Properties spokesperson. The attraction is expected to employ about 150, a mix of full- and part-time, according to Ryman. Job announcements will be posted at www.olered.com/gatlinburg and on social media. No state or local incentives are involved in the project, according to a Ryman Hospitality Properties spokesperson.
Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle said city officials are delighted the development will be part of ongoing recovery from the November 2016 wildfire.
“The announcement of Blake Shelton’s Ole Red Restaurant is a testament to the strength of Gatlinburg as a Premier Resort Destination,” Ogle said in the email. “This move by Ryman Hospitality Properties to position Ole Red’s brand with the City confirms the popularity of Gatlinburg not only with visitors, but with investors. We are excited to see this project develop and look forward to having Ole Red in Gatlinburg.”
Ryman Hospitality Properties announced it has a lease on the 511 Parkway building, but did not disclose specific terms beyond “long-term lease with options.”
According to Sevier County property records, the building at 511 Parkway is owned by Thomas and Sherry Howe, Riverbend Mall Association Inc., and SB Property Management LLC, which all share a Gatlinburg post office box. State corporation records name Raju and Barbara Harjani in connection with SB Property Management, while they are also listed as joint owners with the Howes on some 511 Parkway parcels.
Ryman Hospitality Properties already owns four resorts with 7,811 rooms, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, the General Jackson showboat, and others, all managed by Marriott International Inc. The company also owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, 652 WSM-AM, and Ole Red. Ryman is a joint venture owner of the country-themed Opry City Stage restaurant and performance space on New York City’s Times Square. In Nashville, Ryman Hospitality has been spending significantly to upgrade its existing venues, investing $14 million at the Ryman Auditorium, $12 million at the Grand Ole Opry House and $8.6 million at the Wildhorse Saloon.
Reed said the goal is to export the company’s immensely popular country music brands, and lure out-of-town visitors to the company’s properties in Nashville.