The National Park Service’s Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) process is now open to submit ideas for temporary food service during the 2024 season at Mabry Mill, located at milepost 176.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The purpose of the RFEI is to identify interested individuals, organizations, or businesses that offer creative ideas for outdoor food and beverage service, such as self-contained outdoor vending concepts, like food trucks or vending carts. This opportunity is intended to be temporary in nature, to both complement retail operations at the site and provide food service while the National Park Service seeks a new long-term concessioner for the Mabry Mill site.
“This is an opportunity to test new services for park visitors at Mabry Mill,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “We know that the local community and businesses care about the future of this site and have ideas about what might serve today’s visitors and meet the historic intent behind this developed area. A temporary food service gives us the opportunity to consider alternatives that could help us determine future, flexible uses at Mabry Mill and other beloved sites along the Parkway.”
The National Park Service will evaluate responses to the RFEI to inform the next stage in planning for this business opportunity which will likely be authorized by a Commercial Use Authoritzation (CUA).
Interested commercial entities can email email@example.com to request a full copy of the RFEI, including submission criteria. The RFEI is also available on the “Doing Business With Us” page of the Parkway’s website. Responses to the RFEI are due by February 23.
Mabry Mill Restaurant and Gift Shop has historically operated as a park concession, whereby a private business provides park visitors a service that parks do not provide directly. As announced in December of 2023, the concession contract at the site expired at the end of 2023, and the previous food service and retail operator has chosen not to accept an extension while the NPS seeks a new, long-term contractor to provide those services. America’s National Parks (TM), a part of Eastern National and longtime Parkway bookstore partner, will manage retail operations during the 2024 visitor season at Mabry Mill.