How Blake Shelton is Using His Ole Red Restaurants to Boost 'The Voice' Alumni

By
NBC

Once on Team Blake, always on Team Blake. 

Blake Shelton has long been known as one of the most actively supportive coaches on The Voice, offering his artists opening slots on his tours and even assisting with record deals. Now he's opening up about leveraging his latest business venture as another opportunity to help up-and-coming talent. 

Shelton announced on Wednesday plans for a third location of his signature Ole Red bar and restaurant, in partnership with Ryman Hospitality Properties, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The news comes just weeks before Ole Red Nashville, in the city's famed Lower Broadway area, is set to open its doors. 

Last fall, Shelton feted the flagship location in his hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. He's performed at the venue multiple times since then and has been known to "pop in" from time-to-time.

"I've been able to introduce some of the contestants from The Voice -- Lauren Duski played, I had The Swon Brothers, trying to get Red Marlow booked in there right now -- and that's never going to end," Shelton explained on Facebook Live.

"We need those kids and those kids need a place to go and continue to work on their craft," he continued. "It just makes sense for me to put 'em in my venue. Hopefully, once we get [Ole Red Nashville] up and running, it can even be more of that because a lot of those contestants that end up on my team, they're in Nashville anyway. So we can have a home for them here, a place for them to play and make a little money and, more importantly, work on their craft in front of an audience."

**UPDATE** Ole Red Nashville is coming soon, and there's a new Ole Red, coming your way in 2019! See you soon, Ole Red Gatlinburg!

Posted by Ole Red Nashville on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

With plans for Ole Red Gatlinburg well underway, the entertainment venue is expected to open in 2019. The $9 million project will be a two-story, 16,000-square-foot bar and restaurant, retail area, performance space, dance floor and exterior terrace. The menu will be inspired by Shelton's favorites, including hot chicken and waffles, BBQ, burgers and more Southern classics. 

"There's another country singer that has a place there [in Gatlinburg], I can't think of her name," Shelton teased. "Oh, Dolly Parton. That's right." 

Ole Red Gatlinburg will be located on the main drive into town from Pigeon Forge, the home of Parton's iconic Dollywood theme park. 

ET was with Shelton last year at the grand opening of Ole Red Tishomingo, where he celebrated the milestone alongside girlfriend Gwen Stefani and her sons. See the exclusive interview with Shelton and more from inside the restaurant, below. 

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