Friday, June 4, 2010

Denny's restaurants to return to Nashville

After a seven-year hiatus, Denny's is coming back to Nashville.
Longtime Nashville restaurateurs Craig Barber and Bob Langford, who formerly worked for Denny's competitor Shoney's, have signed a deal to open four Denny's restaurants in the Nashville area at Pilot Travel Centers.

Without divulging the locations, Barber said the first should open in about six months.

"There aren't that many Denny's in Tennessee,'' Barber said. "I think there are only three or four now in the state. We think it's going to be a good opportunity for us and the brand."

The closest Denny's restaurant to Nashville has a Bowling Green, Ky., ad-
dress. The chain has some 1,500 restaurants across the country, but Shoney's dominated here for decades.

Denny's is open 24 hours and features meals as low as $2 in a family diner atmosphere.

Up to 15 locations

Barber said he and Langford believe there is room to grow. They hope to open 10 to 15 Denny's restaurants in the Nashville area over about five years, most of them independent of truck stops.

The two business partners own 33 Denny's franchise locations, mostly in Florida. They also own the Black-eyed Pea, a mostly Texas-focused brand with 30 locations. There is one Black-eyed Pea restaurant in Hendersonville.

Both Barber and Langford grew up in the Nashville area. Langford graduated from Stratford High School and Barber from McGavock. They spent some time trying to work on distressed restaurants. Their company, Dynamic Management Co., owned the Barnhill's Buffet, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007.

Contact business reporter Naomi Snyder at 615-259-8284 or

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