Aunt B’s undergoes complete renovation, brings atmosphere to Milligan Highway

Nestled between the Johnson City and Elizabethton areas is Milligan Highway, and while passers-by may glance over what the area has to offer as they travel, the businesses there offer a sense of community unique to themselves.

One such restaurant, Aunt B’s, has felt time pass it by, and after 33 years of operation, the business is experiencing a comeback.

Ken Talbert purchased Aunt B’s at the end of last year, a restaurant that has stood for close to 33 years. He said he bought it after seeing the state it was in.

“The building and equipment had never been upgraded,” Talbert said. “The parking lot was just gravel.”

He said he wanted to renovate the building in order to brighten up the area, saying it would stand out from the rest of the Milligan Highway area.

The renovations included paving the parking lot with asphalt and replacing or upgrading the equipment inside the restaurant.

In addition, Aunt B’s completed their menu just a few days ago, with a wide variety of healthy options including vegan and gluten-free options.

Talbert said customers noticed the difference.

“Customers who came here when they were in college come back now and say this is a pleasant surprise,” he said. “The community has been great.”

Despite being under new ownership, Talbert said he is mostly hands-off towards how the staff runs the day-to-day business.

“I let people do what they do,” Talbert said. “I am here to help with what they need.”

The improvements do not stop there, however. Aunt B’s is just one step in a process Talbert hopes will improve the community as a whole.

“I want to bring the atmosphere back to Milligan Highway,” he said. “People come here and talk to each other here, without any distractions.”

Now that the menu is finished, Talbert said he has other plans for the area, including a pizza place called Outskirts Pizza as well as a farmer’s market in the distant future.

“There is nothing like where you are at,” he said. “We want people to come here. I want this to be a nice place to go for dinner.”

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