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Minding Your Business: Local restaurants can shift without losing what makes them special | Business

If you’ve been in Kingsport long enough to look for some of the best fried chicken in town, you’re familiar with Nick’s Family Restaurant. Nick’s has been a Kingsport staple since 1938. Recently, I talked with one of the co-owners about the eatery’s future site on Memorial Boulevard (between Robinson Middle School and the Fort Henry Mall). The new site will feature an indoor-outdoor bar and a to-go entrance, which is quite a move for the 83-year-old restaurant!

Nick’s is a good example of taking what works and adding to it — without ditching its lasting fried chicken legacy. And fear not, the owners plan to keep its traditional menu along with adding new items as well.

Kingsport could use a new (yet not new) spot to eat, meet up for dinner, hang out with friends and still get Sunday after-church lunch in one location. In talking to co-owner Victoria Harville, she said she hoped to keep Nick’s as the sort of place you bring your out-of-town guests when in Kingsport. When you go to a new city, she said, you don’t want to stop at Applebee’s, Chili’s or some other chain restaurant — you want a taste of local food. I hope to see Nick’s take this chance and turn the new spot into a place that will last them another 83 years — while also keeping burgers, potato wedges and golden fried chicken at the center of it all.

I hope as time goes on and buildings age, Kingsport’s local restaurants consider shifting while focusing on what they do best. It’s not a bad thing to consider what positive changes could be made while recognizing the traditions that are worth keeping alive. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — but there’s no harm in considering the future before you’re forced to make changes.

Around the region

• Downtown Gate City will host its Christmas Open House on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local businesses will offer discounts and specials throughout the day.

• Willow Creek Consign and Design will host a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 4:30 p.m. The store is located at 105 Indian Center Court, Kingsport.

• The Kingsport Chamber will host its State of Your Kingsport Chamber Holiday Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 a.m. at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. The Chamber will recap highlights from 2021, showcase what’s ahead for 2022 and present the Lifetime Member award. The event is free. To RSVP, contact Justin Hartsell at [email protected] or (423) 392-8827.