Few business owners have done more to embrace and support the Blue Mile efforts than Al Chapman, the owner of Gnat’s Landing and Del Sur Tacos and Cantina.
The businesses are two of the first things you see when entering the Blue Mile district on South Main Street in Statesboro. Chapman has invested heavily in giving Gnat’s a facelift, which includes new signage and a new covered outdoor deck.
What is even more impressive is what he did directly across the street with Del Sur. The building was built originally as a Hardee’s and has also seen several other businesses come and go through the years with minor cosmetic changes to the building. It had been closed for years when Chapman took it on as a project. He completely transformed the building and with his Midas touch, he has created a second restaurant that has become popular with both the college crowd and locals alike.
In fact, that is the one thing that Chapman and his team have seemed to succeed at that many others in all types of businesses struggle with. Creating restaurants that are popular with both locals and the college community. His model provides a safe, clean atmosphere with great entertainment, excellent food and price points that please everyone’s budget. His wait staff is well trained, courteous and eager to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.
With his formula working and two successful businesses operating, he has set his sights on a third venue hoping to prove that the third time is the real charm. His newest venture, The Blue Room, will be located adjacent to Paulsen Stadium at 1830 Chandler Road in the former Borough Restaurant and Bar.
It is a location that has seen a revolving door of businesses operating in it over the past few years. Nonetheless, it is a great location with its proximity to campus and the stadium, but it just hasn’t seemed to get traction with locals or the college community in the past.
Chapman has seen tremendous growth in his catering business over the past few years and would like more space to expand private event opportunities. Being landlocked at Gnat’s and Del Sur he began looking for other venues. When his friend William Bridwell, owner of Airbound Entertainment, approached him with this opportunity, he felt it was worth a look.
“Our physical space limitations has held us back at Gnat’s not only with event opportunities but with attracting the level of entertainment we want to provide our guests.” Chapman said. “We know there is a need for more to build on what we have created at Gnats. This seems to be the logical next step.”
Chapman and Bridwell have come together along with Kaleo Lyles, who is the general manager of Gnats, to reimagine the Chandler Road location and transform it into something unlike any other venue in Statesboro. Paul Newhart will join their team as general manager of The Blue Room.
They have begun a complete renovation of the building. When done, they will have a restaurant, catering and live event facility that can accommodate up to 600 guests.
Chapman graduated from Full Sail College with a Recording Arts and Live Show Production degree. So this gives him an opportunity to really put that degree to work. Bridwell is one of the premier talent managers and event planners in our area. He has a gift for attracting and booking all genres of acts – many are well known and some will be soon.
“This is a real opportunity to create a great entertainment venue in Statesboro,” Bridwell said. “We are investing over $75,000 in sound and lighting equipment alone. Our goal is to create a venue and environment that bands will love to play and fans will want to visit again and again. No matter if it is a wedding reception, Greek party or a ticketed concert, this venue will be an experience like no other in the Boro.”
The project is not simply just another fresh coat of paint and a new sign. You can expect a venue as attractive, exciting and inviting as Gnats and Del Sur. In addition to being available for private events, they are working to attract all types of entertainment with the understanding that they want to continue creating a great venue that locals and the college community will enjoy equally.
They are planning a soft opening Aug. 10 and 11. Tickets are on sale now for Country Music singer Jon Langston, Friday, Aug. 17. You can follow their progress and learn more about The Blue Room on their Facebook page @blueroomboro