Friday, May 20 2022

When Jeff Pike sold Mid City Grill in 2019, it didn’t take long for him to feel restless.

“I’m bored and miss it,” said Pike, who opened the downtown Johnson City stalwart on May 1, 2003. “It’s a terrible disease to have, the restaurant bug.”

In particular, Pike missed the camaraderie with his colleagues and the bonds he forged with regular customers. Now he has again succumbed to the restaurant bug.

Its newest location, Voodoo Chicken Johnson City, will open downtown at the former location of Go Burrito! at 121 Commerce St. Although supply chain issues have been a hurdle, Pike said, he is considering an opening date in early May.

The existing cocktail bar, which continued to operate after Go Burrito! closed, will also remain.

Pike’s Restaurant will feature hot Nashville-inspired, Korean and potentially Japanese-inspired flavors, he said. The restaurant will offer plain chicken for people who don’t prefer spicy food, but Pike offers ghost pepper and scorpion pepper seasoning for the more adventurous.

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“I have self-proclaimed ‘pepperheads’ eagerly awaiting my opening,” Pike said.

It also hopes to offer typical southern sides like collard greens, pinto beans, cream corn, string beans, mashed potatoes, tater tots and possibly macaroni and cheese.

Pike has been considering opening a hot chicken restaurant for at least two years, but the pandemic got in his way.

Until it can increase its staff, the restaurant will only be open for dinner. Dinner hours will be 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 5:00 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Pike said he has always enjoyed downtown Johnson City. Although he has “growing pains,” he said, Pike lives close to the area and has been keeping tabs on available properties.

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