Michael's Tasting Room owner, Michael Lugo confirmed rumors that he is in the running to take over the lease, and operate the restaurant at the Hamblen House.
"I can confirm that we are in conversations with the newly signed lease management company. We have been working with the bank previously to help find a solution to the problem that came upon them. We have been looking for an opportunity to grow our restaurant for years, but nothing seemed to fit. We really feel our beliefs in community have been proven for the 12 years of business. We feel that experience has prepared us for the commitment needed to serve our veterans impacted by thy his change. I will guarantee, if we are selected, that we will embrace the history of The Hamblen Club. We have many ideas on how we could give proceeds from special events and items on menu directly to Veterans Services in our county." - Michael Lugo
Lugo admits he is an underdog, with a lot of big money interests looking to the advantage of prime real estate downtown. The fact that he would like to continue to use the Hamblen House to benefit local Veterans in some capacity is definitely encouraging.
He also has plenty of experience running successful downtown restaurants.
Readers of My 904 and participants in other forums have suggested Lugo as someone they would like to see take over operations. Another consistent name included Ned Pollack (who I don't think is coming out of retirement, at least not that quickly). Ned is not said to be bidding for the lease.