THE CAPITAL GRILLE
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East Memphis could soon be known as much for its great steaks as for its office properties. Two new national restaurant chains — The Capital Grille and Seasons 52 — are coming to the corner of Poplar Avenue and Ridgeway Road, and will be developed on the Crescent Center office building’s property by building owner Highwoods Properties Inc.

The Capital Grille is known for its top-notch steaks and a wine list with more than 5,000 bottles. It’s your typical a la carte steakhouse, where the steak alone runs more than $40; adding a vegetable and a salad will cost at least $20 more.

Seasons 52 is fresh grill and wine bar which uses a seasonally inspired menu and an international wine list. Both restaurants are brands of Darden Restaurants Inc. and will be the first of their brand in Tennessee.

The Capital Grille would be entering a submarket with plenty of competition. Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar are on virtually the same block, while Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House is just a few minutes west. However, there is a reason all these high-end restaurants are there: You probably couldn’t place them in a better Memphis location.

The Capital Grille and Seasons 52 will be at an intersection which many office real estate professionals describe as the “Main and Main” for local businesses.

It has some of the highest traffic counts and demographics in Memphis, comparable with those seen in other, larger cities. FedEx Corp. president, CEO and chairman Fred Smith, AutoZone Inc. founder J.R. ‘Pitt’ Hyde and other high-earning business professionals live in the River Oaks neighborhood within walking distance.

And the Crescent Center is one of the top office properties in the Memphis metropolitan area.

Highwoods will go before the Memphis-Shelby County Land Use Control Board to adjust zoning allowing for the project’s development.

Steve Guinn, vice president at Highwoods, worked with Elkington Real Estate Group principal broker John Elkington, broker Fletcher Elkington and MKJ Advisors LLC principal Tom McCarty on the project.

While it appears to be a slam-dunk deal, it hasn’t been easy work.

“Steve and Highwoods showed a lot of vision to do this,” John Elkington said. “It took us a year to do it and it was very complicated.”