Several years ago, we had three restaurants open in downtown Statesboro in a relatively short span of time - 119 Chops, Hugo's and Statesboro Brews. It was so much fun to go downtown, pick a restaurant, and just have a good time. They really did "feed" off of one another.
For unrelated reasons, Hugo's closed, and then Statesboro Brews shortly thereafter. Chops went through ownership changes, and lost some of its traction with restaurant goers. The restaurant "scene" in downtown seemed to have lost its momentum.
That is until now.
Chops is now owned by brothers Andy and Walt Aldred, and appears to be doing quite well.
Heath Robinson and Jason Scarborough are closing in on the completion of their new restaurant - 40 East Grill - scheduled to open in September in the former location of the Blue Moon and Lily's Cafe on East Main Street.
Interestingly, the former location of Hugo's is also being renovated, and will open in a few weeks as the South and Vine Public House. Owner and chef Seni Alabi-Isama said it has always been his dream to open a restaurant where everything is made from scratch.
"As an example, with our hamburgers, we will make the buns, grind the beef, and even make our own condiments," he said. "The only way that I know how to cook is totally from scratch, and with local ingredients. That isn't a chore to me, it is how I know and enjoy preparing food. There will also be seasonality to the menu."
Alabi-Isama said he hopes to be able to purchase the vast majority of ingredients from the surrounding area.
"We have high quality, local products in this area from cattle, pork and beef, to dairy products, row crops and seafood" he said. "I think people will be very pleased with our menu. It's going to be a simple menu with familiar items, but prepared with a lot of thought and care."
Alabi-Isama said the restaurant will have a good selection of craft beers, wine and a full bar.
"I have always liked downtown, and had my computer business down here for a number of years," he said. "When this space opened up, I decided it was time. We are brightening it up, and making it a warm and comfortable place. We want every dining experience here to be a great one. We want all of our customers to feel welcome."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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