Thursday, August 30, 2012
The aroma of freshly made funnel cakes can be smelled as it wafts down Fourth Avenue in Chattanooga. And it’s not coming from a festival or theme park.
Funnel Cake Factory, at 2701 Fourth Ave., opened in late summer. Owner Carlton B. Parks said he wanted to help Chattanooga residents treat themselves to the mouthwatering treat outside the normal seasonal venues.
“You can come here instead of waiting for a fall festival for a funnel cake,” he said. “People go to Lake Winnepesaukah or Six Flags to wait in line for a funnel cake. We put lots of time and effort into our funnel cakes to make them tasteful.”
He said Funnel Cake Factory’s tasty treats stand out more than theme park cakes because his are made fresh with a variety of toppings. Patrons can select from powdered sugar, whipped cream, strawberries, ice cream and hot fudge. The original recipe Pennsylvania Dutch-style funnel cakes are created daily from scratch.
“I used to take my daughter to theme parks and stand in line for a funnel cake,” said Parks. “I did not know of any stores in Chattanooga that sold funnel cakes, so I decided to open a funnel cake store. The word is getting out.”
The pizza-parlor-turned-funnel-cake restaurant has two windows, one for walk-up orders and a drive-thru.
“Some people pull up and say, ‘This is a great idea’ and ‘I’ve looked for a funnel cake in Chattanooga,’” Parks said, adding that he already has many repeat customers. “It only takes two to three minutes to pick up a funnel cake and a lemonade.”
Parks bakes funnel cakes in 6-, 8- and 10-inch sizes as well as funnel cake swirls and funnel fingers. Patrons can also order the store’s freshly squeezed lemonade. Funnel Cake Factory recently scored a 99 from the Hamilton County Health Department, according to Parks.
“A lot of children walk up with only $2 to $3 so I sell the swirls for a $1 each,” he said. “I look out for the children. They hang out here from time to time. Children are the best advertisement you can have. They bring their parents and tell all their friends. The children negotiate with me on prices, so I try to give them deals.”
He said he strives to keep the customers happy and welcomes feedback.
A native of Chattanooga and a graduate of Tyner High School, Parks has a background in police and security work, but after researching the restaurant business wanted to open the funnel cake store.
“We chose this location to get this off the ground,” he said, adding that he hopes to expand and launch more stores throughout Chattanooga in the future.