KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — VFL and former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is partnering with a Chicago-based investment firm to open a high-end, western themed bar in a new hotel just off Cumberland Ave.

Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners has acquired the Hilton Garden Inn, according to a press release, which is currently being operated as the Volunteer Hotel. Renovations will begin in December to transform it into the Graduate Knoxville.

Rendering of Graduate Knoxville
Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners

They hope to have it back open by Spring 2020.

In the lobby of the 112-room hotel will be Saloon 16, a vintage saloon-type bar with a jukebox, dart board, and outdoor dining. Peyton Manning is a partner in the bar, which is named in honor of his nickname, "The Sheriff" and his No. 16 jersey number he wore at UT.

This happens to be right behind Peyton's favorite Knoxville restaurant, Gus's Good Times Deli.

That eatery boasts all sorts of signed memorabilia from the Manning family hanging on it's walls.

Peyton visits almost every time he's in town, most recently last football season.

Gus's co-owner Aaron Hale is happy to hear Peyton will be opening his own watering hole next door.

"He's been so good to us over time, way nicer than he even had to be," said Hale. "Hopefully it'll be successful and he'll be really happy with it."

This isn't the East Tennessee legend's first business venture.

Up until last year, he owned 31 Papa John's Pizza locations in the Denver area.

He's also a co-owner of D1 Training gyms in Knoxville and Nashville.

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