212 market restaurant plays a starring role in a recent article published in the Corpus Christi Caller Times as that beleaguered Texas city looks to Our Town for inspiration in revitalizing its own downtown.
Like Chattanooga, Corpus Christi is built on a waterfront, which is as key to its revitalization efforts as was the redevelopment of the 21st Century Waterfront was to Chattanooga’s revival.
The article focuses heavily on 212 Market, which opened downtown six month before the Tennessee Aquarium opened in 1992, spurring the downtown revival.
“People thought we were crazy,” Sally Moses, who along with sister Susan and mother Maggie, own and operate the restaurant, said. “I didn’t think it would be this vibrant. We are just thrilled.”
The article goes on to paint downtown Chattanooga as a thriving area of restaurants and businesses, with nods to the city’s economic initiatives that drew such businesses as Volkswagen and Amazon to the city, as well as an increased focus on tourism.
All those people need somewhere to eat, drink and play, of course, and the city’s restaurant and bar scene met that challenge. But Chattanooga was not revitalized strictly on tourist dollars.
“Part of the genius has been that they didn’t build a tourist attraction,” J. Ed. Marston, vice president of marketing for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, told the paper. “They built something locals would enjoy. It’s figuring out how to leverage what you’re doing in many different ways.”
It should be both congratulatory and humbling that other mid-size cities across America pay so much attention to Chattanooga’s renaissance, but it takes true believers such as the Moses to realize those dreams.