By: Andy Ashby
Memphis Business Journal
John Bragg, owner of the Circa restaurant Downtown, has signed a 3,600-square-foot lease at the Regalia Shopping Center in East Memphis for a second restaurant.
Circa by John Bragg should open by October.
Bragg, formerly at River Oaks Restaurant in East Memphis, has been a fixture Downtown for more than three years.
“The Downtown scene is cool and there is a lot going down, but the demographics out east are a better fit for gourmet dining,” he says.
After opening the East Memphis location, the 4,500-square-foot Downtown restaurant will undergo renovations and should be reopened by November.
Bragg plans to make the Downtown location more casual and less focused on reservations, but is still formulating the concept.
“It’s going to be a lot more of a bar atmosphere with some good food and cocktails,” Bragg says. “The people who want Circa as we know it, there are more of them out east. The people Downtown are more interested in going to several different places and not sitting at one place for several hours.”
In May, Bragg opened a 1,500-square-foot lunch spot at Baptist College of Health Sciences’ nursing school, called Circa Express.
“We’ll end up having two and a half restaurants,” he says.
The new East Memphis restaurant has a mezzanine level and a small room upstairs for wine tasting and other events.
Circa by John Bragg is taking over the former Mikasa space.
With this lease, the 89,500-square-foot shopping center at Poplar and Ridgeway is now 90 percent occupied.
Bradley Wilford, vice president of Boyle Investment Co., handles leasing of the center.
The Regalia certainly caters to the high-end demographic of the area,” he says. “Having a nice restaurant should be helpful to folks living in the area who might not be going Downtown for an Orpheum play or a Grizzlies game.”
Regalia also is located near numerous Class A office buildings, so Bragg’s new restaurant should lure plenty of those office tenants, Wilford adds.
Regalia’s owners, BTE Partners, spent $500,000 last year improving the shopping center’s courtyard, adding outdoor furniture, a sound system, lighting and planters.
BET is also re-paving the parking lot.