(WBIR - Knoxville) A new restaurant in Market Square is causing a lot of excitement simply because of its name.
Not Watson's Kitchen and Bar opened its yellow double doors Tuesday evening. It's name is a playful way the owner is honoring the historic Watson's Department Store.
Not Watson's general manager Beau McKee pointed to two pillars inside the restaurant and said, "Between those two pillars I think was actually the first escalator in the state of Tennessee."
Watson's Department Store was the last downtown retail department store in the city. It opened in 1907, but the store filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992 because owners were having trouble securing credit lines.
On November 23, 1990, East Tennessee animal rights activists protested outside the department store as part of a national movement for what was dubbed 'Fur-Free Friday'.
Despite the tough times, however, its former customers have fond memories of shopping at the store.
"My memories of Watson's are going in there with my mother when I was little and it was affordable," said Sandra Taylor of Knoxville. "You could get something for everybody and I was really thrilled when I came to UT to find out it was within walking distance of the campus, because I didn't have a car, so I could still go shopping."
A similar story can be found on the back of Not Watson's menu. The restaurant's owner wrote a story from his childhood when his mother would ask his family every Saturday where they were heading. The family's response would be, "not Watson's."
McKee explained, "And then they would all laugh just because it was an every Saturday thing I guess to load up the car and come down here and rummage through the bargain basement."
Not Watson's Kitchen and Bar is located in the former Bella Luna restaurant site at 15 Market Square. It's currently open for only dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. through Thursday, August 28. On Friday, August 29 the restaurant is open from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Beginning Saturday, August 30, Not Watson's will begin its regular hours, opening at 11:00 a.m.