Captain D’s closes doors after 39 years in downtown Franklin; parent company plans expansion

Captain D’s closes doors after 39 years in downtown Franklin; parent company plans expansion

PHOTO: Signs had been torn down from the front and drive through portion of Captain D’s by Tuesday, October 16, 2018./Brooke Wanser


After nearly 40 years in business, the Captain D’s in downtown Franklin has closed its doors for good.

While a location on Mallory Lane is still open for business, the location at 108 New Highway 96 West shuttered early last week.

A paper sign appeared in the windows. “Captain D’s Guest: Thank you for the memories! Please come visit us at our Cool Springs location. Hope to see you soon!”

The sign seen in the window of Captain D’s on New Highway 96 West./Brooke Wanser

Nikki Rode, an account executive for Fish Consulting representing the company, said the restaurant “had been a community staple for nearly 40 years.”

But with other restaurants, like the Spring Hill and Bellevue locations nearby, “the company decided it was time to retire the historic Franklin location,” Rode said.

“Captain D’s looks forward to continuing to serve the community at the other locations in the market.”


Ray Danner opened the seafood restaurant, which originally also sold hamburgers and was called Mr. D’s, in Donelson on August 15, 1969.

By 1973, the business had expanded to 15 locations, and by 1974, they had dropped the word “hamburger” from the title to focus exclusively on seafood.

The downtown Franklin location opened in May of 1979, said City of Franklin Communications Manager Milissa Reierson.

Since 2010, Philip Greifeld has served as president and CEO of the company, after serving as CEO of Grandy’s.

About 300 of the 530 restaurants are owned by the company, while the rest are franchised out. Captain D’s operates in 22 states, with the largest number of stores in Alabama.

But after the company was bought by Sentinel Capital Partners in December of 2017, Greifeld said Captain D’s would expand.

“Sentinel’s more than two decades of experience in the restaurant franchising sector makes the firm an ideal partner for us as we enter a new phase of expansion,” Greifeld said. “We see significant opportunities to grow inside our existing footprint, as well as into new regions.”


Facebook users took to the social media platform to alternately bemoan and celebrate the restaurant’s closing.

Some complained about the eating options on the west side of town, while others said the food quality had become “awful” as of late.

Others expressed sadness that the long-running restaurant had closed.

“It feels like a piece of my childhood going away,” said Leigh Bawcom, Williamson, Inc.’s director of member engagement, who said there were far fewer restaurant options in the 1980s.

Growing up as one of five children, Bawcom said her family would eat at the restaurant, or her father would bring home takeout, because of the affordable prices.

“It always seemed like a treat,” she said. “It was nostalgic for me, so it was kind of sad to see that leave.”

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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