Champy’s to be featured on new HLN show

Authored By Maggie Behringer

As the Chattanooga food scene continues to grow, one local restaurant is getting some (more) national attention.

Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken will be featured on HLN’s “Making It in America” this fall.

A crew visited the MLK eatery Sunday, Sept. 16 and spent the better part of the afternoon filming diners, interviewing Champy’s owners Seth and Crissy Champion and, of course, testing the menu.

“It was just totally random,” Crissy Champion said. “I got a call late in the day on Sunday, and it was the restaurant. They said, ‘We need you to get to the restaurant right now. There’s a CNN crew here.'”

In fact, the crew was from the news channel’s sister network-HLN-and was gathering footage for the program, which premiered Monday in the 4 p.m. time slot. “Making It in America” is a one-hour, daily broadcast hosted by Vinnie Politan, aimed at highlighting the avenues of making it in formidable economic times, as well as stories of hard-earned success.

Andres Diaz, a HLN producer, and the crew were headed back to HLN headquarters in Atlanta after gathering material in West Tennessee and stopped in Chattanooga, hoping to discover a local favorite food stop. A Google search and online reviews led them to Champy’s. Pulling up at 11 a.m. to find a packed parking lot, Diaz said, was the first sign of many that they had chosen correctly.

Crissy chatted with the crew over fried pickles, tamales and the world famous fried chicken. She was later joined by her husband and children, and the interview quickly became a more-than-friendly chat about Champy’s success and the dynamics of balancing family and running a busy restaurant. 

“We caught [Crissy and Seth] by surprise on a Sunday-so they really jumped in and rolled with it. Initially, we had just planned to focus on the food. But once we started talking to the owners, we realized they’re a part of the story, too,” Diaz said. “They made it the old-fashioned way-hard work. It’s great to see people like the Champions making it, especially in these hard times.”

There is not yet a set airdate for the footage from the Chattanooga favorite, Diaz said, but Champy’s will appear on “Making It in America” sometime in the next few months.