GREENVILLE — A new family-friendly restaurant will soon be coming to downtown Greenville after the dust clears away at the former site of Sportzter’s bar.
The project is a “family affair,” according to one of the owners Georgianne “George” Lambright.
Lambright said the idea came about when she read an article about Main Street Greenville seeking more restaurants to come to the downtown area. She liked the progress she was seeing downtown, so she thought it would be a good idea.
Lambright is taking care of the “business end” of things with her husband, Randy, while their daughter Cassie, and her fiance, Chris Campbell will be running the restaurant. Cassie and Chris both have experience in food service, having worked from busing tables all the way up to management.
Chris and Cassie now live in Detroit, Michigan, with their two children, George said, but they are looking forward to bringing the kids to Greenville to grow up in a wholesome, small-town atmosphere the way Cassie did.
George and Randy live in Arcanum, so they are devoted to the Darke County area.
George said the new place will be a “family-friendly restaurant,” but it will still have a bar area — featuring local craft beers. The foursome also plans to make use of the stage space in the building to bring in entertainment.
As for the cuisine, she said, “Chris has been describing it as ‘barbecue-style New American.”
Current plans call for seating for about 115 to 120 customers.
George said the restaurant will be called, “The Merchant House,” recalling the history of the building. She said the building was constructed in 1880 and was home to mercantile businesses, housing “dry goods”-type stores for most of it’s history before it eventually became a bar.
The decor also will hearken back to earlier times, with lots of exposed brick, as it used to have, and a more industrial look.
“We’re calling it ‘antique retro,’” George said. Historical photos from downtown also will be incorporated into the decor.
George said the plan is to source as much of the menu locally as possible, and the group is talking to possible suppliers while renovations are ongoing.
“We’re going to try to buy local as much as we can,” she said.
Beyond just being a business venture, George said she wanted to help be a part of the revitalization of downtown Greenville that’s been taking place over the past few years.
“I really believe in this downtown area,” she said. “I really do like what they’ve been doing.”
So far, the process has been fairly painless, as far as working with the state and city to get the necessary permits, and Main Street Greenville has shown a lot of support.
“Everybody has been really great to work with,” George said.
The restaurant is set to open some time this fall.