GREENVILLE — A new restaurant, Sweitzer St. Eats, opened up on the south side of Greenville earlier this month, near the southeast corner of the county fairgrounds.
The co-owners of the new business are Vince Hamilton and Jessica Hunken. Hamilton grew up in Darke County, and later spent 15 years in Chicago, where he met Hunken. The two recently reconnected while living in Portland, Maine.
Hamilton is also the son of Tennessie Hamilton, who operates the popular Tennessie’s Philippine Cuisine food truck during the county fair and other local events. This has given Hamilton a fair amount of experience in the food service industry.
“I have a history helping out my mom with her Philippine venture,” Hamilton said. In fact, the two were in town helping Hamilton’s mom during the county fair when they noticed that a house adjacent to the fairgrounds was for rent.
“We loved it,” Hunken said of the property. “We both build and create furniture, so we were looking for a place with a garage to use as a workshop.”
They were also both interested in opening a restaurant, and felt their property’s location might enable them to fill a void in the Greenville area, as most of the city’s fast food offerings are located at the far end of town, near Walmart. Employees at Wayne Hospital, however, only get a half-hour lunch break, making the drive less than convenient.
“We want to offer people something that’s convenient, that’s a little bit nicer than fast food, but at the same time they don’t have to worry about having to cook,” Hunken said.
Sweitzer St. Eats is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., while dinner is available between 4:30 and 6:30 in the evening. The limited hours were a purposeful decision on the owners’ part, according to Hunken.
“In the restaurant business, it costs more money sometimes to stay open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner than what you’re actually able to make in order to justify it,” Hunken said.
“We like the lifestyle, and we like being able to make our own hours,” Hamilton agreed.
The two also want to get involved in the local community, something social media has played a big part in helping make a reality.
“We started the Facebook page a week before we opened,” Hunken said. “We’ve put $25 altogether into marketing, and we’ve already got over 400 likes and I get messages every 20 minutes.”
Right now the eatery serves a mix of Philippino food and homemade baked goods, including bread and peanut butter-chocolate pie. Future plans, however, call for a rotating menu offering a different lunch and dinner selection each day, as well as a smartphone app that would enable customers to order ahead.
“A lot of restaurants in Portland have a small menu,” Hamilton said. “Something you don’t really see out here. We thought it would be interesting to do something like that, but we wanted to do it right.”
“We can throw a bunch of things on the menu,” Hunken said, “but if they’re not done well, people won’t come back.”
“Our whole concept here is start simple,” Hamilton said.
Sweitzer St. Eats is located at 1100 Sweitzer St. Carryout orders can be called in at 937-303-7643.
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