If you want a vision of things to come, look into the windows of Hugo’s this week, Statesboro’s newest entry into the competitive restaurant business. Located in the heart of downtown at the corner of Vine and South Main Streets, the owners of Hugo's are in the throes of final preparations as they ready the restaurant for next week’s opening.
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of touring the new restaurant owned by local residents Robby Richardson and his wife, Lacy. Simply put, it looks just awesome. It is a great mix of old and new, continuing the renovation style started by Statesboro Brews.
I really didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say it is both stunning and fun. The Richardsons have considered every detail including the placement of the oyster “shucking” station next to one of the front windows so passersby can the see the mollusks being opened.
As I reported earlier, Hugo's signature item is shrimp caught off of the coast of Darien in southeast Georgia. Robby Richardson is anxious to serve his fresh shrimp to local residents.
Richardson said the restaurant will go through a final post construction cleaning on Tuesday and began training staff the following day.
"From Wednesday forward we will be cooking and training, preparing for our opening the following week," he said. "We hope to open next Tuesday or Wednesday, but that will depend on how well things go this week."
Richardson said they are not going to do a big grand opening the first day.
"Lacy and I are going to put a sign out front at lunch that says we are open," he said. "Keep an eye out for it and come join us. Like any new restaurant, I am sure that we will have a couple of kinks to work out, but I hope everyone will understand that we want to serve you a wonderful meal as quickly as we can, with wonderful service and atmosphere. We know that people only have 45 minutes for lunch, so we are going to be as quick as we can."
Lacy Richardson said none of the items on the menu will be prepared in advance.
"As soon as you order it, we will make it," she said. "Everything is going to be fresh."
The Richardsons hope their restaurant, in tandem with the others in downtown, will spur additional development resulting in a local restaurant district of sorts.
"We would love downtown to be a restaurant destination for people with all kinds of different types of restaurants that are unique and flavorful," Robby Richardson said. "We are just excited to be here."
I know that some of you think I am repressed restaurant critic, and maybe I am. But nowhere are you as vulnerable as a business person, than opening a restaurant that is your own concept. Everybody eats, and so everybody is going to have an opinion about you. It is entrepreneurship at its best and most "raw."
Until next week, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org