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New Zaxby's opens: Restaurant to provide more jobs

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    Zaxby’s opened Tuesday in its new address within eyesight of its former location on West Clinton Street. DEBBIE LURIE-SMITH/Staff

Gray’s newest restaurant is open at its new location at 166 W. Clinton St. featuring the options of drive-thru, dine-in or curbside pickup.

An Oct. 6 press release from Zaxby’s headquarters in Athens announced the opening of the new Gray location Oct. 13.

The previous location in Gateway Shopping Center opened in 1999. That location closed its doors for the last time at 8 p.m., Oct. 9.

The restaurant is owned and operated by Avants Management Group, a second-generation family of licensees with 26 locations. The restaurant chain is known for its chicken fingers, wings and signature sauces.

Melissa Crowe is the licensee and vice president of the Avants Management Group.

“Our dad became a licensee when I was 10 years old,” she said. “I’ve seen the brand grow and transform into the national powerhouse that it has become. I knew that it was something I wanted to be involved in because I believed in the product and the culture.”

Crowe said her sister Mary Stuart Hulsey now manages the group that their father, Gary Avants, started in 1997. When the Gray location opened in 1999, it was the second purchased by Avants.

If it seems like the restaurant has gone up quickly, there is a reason for that. Crowe said the average time to construct a new Zaxby’s is 150 days or longer. This build took 115 days.

“This one definitely went by faster. Dimension Construction was able to have workers and subcontractors there on the weekends, which helped push things along,” she said.

The press release states that the new Zaxby’s restaurant will create jobs for approximately 50 people. Anyone interested in applying can do so online at

The question of what will be located in the former location remains unanswered.