South Main denizens will soon see their dining options expand, as Cynthia and Mark Grawemeyer, the couple behind the recently opened Rizzo's Diner on G.E. Patterson, prepare to open Grawemeyer's — a combination restaurant, bakery, and bar at 520 South Main.
Tentatively open from around 7 a.m. to midnight every day, Grawemeyer's is poised to take on many roles: a breakfast joint with pastries and breakfast sandwiches for working downtowners; a deli to grab a sensible lunch like a salad, bowl of soup, or sandwich; a dinner spot for casseroles, specials, and pizzas; a coffee place for studying; and a wine bar for hanging out.
The atmosphere will be upscale casual, but Cynthia says she intends to keep the prices reasonable. The site was formerly a hotel for porters back when the nearby train station was a hub of transit activity, and the Grawemeyers have attempted to keep as much of the old décor intact as possible.
Michael Patrick, currently leading operations around the corner at Rizzo's, will serve as head chef for Grawemeyer's as well, bringing on baker Jason Doty to handle breads and pastries.
According to Cynthia, the goal is to provide a nice place for kids and their families on South Main, as well as a healthy alternative for residents. And in keeping with what Patrick calls a "tech-savvy" area, the restaurant will offer wireless internet access, and each table will come with a built-in outlet for charging computers and mobile devices.
The exact menu items are still up in the air, but Cynthia is insisting on as much farm-to-table dining as possible, and Patrick is working on a Waldorf tuna salad, sausage and cheese plates, seasonal specials, and pizzas. They are also in the process of procuring a license to sell beer, wine, and liquor. If all goes according to plans, they will be offering you three square meals by the first week in March.
Grawemeyer's, 520 S. Main
Bluff City Coffee is positioning itself to take over downtown and Midtown, with a new, larger bakery and the promise of opening one or two more retail locations within the next year.
Owner David Adams recently moved the store's baking operations into a large commercial kitchen that used to service the Center for Southern Folklore cafeteria. There, he and head chef Griffen Wall have been preparing all the pastries and breads for the South Main coffee shop, as well as custom orders — like 1,000 heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day.
Adams hopes to use this kitchen as a hub for all Bluff City locations, including a new location in the downtown core and another in Midtown. He says they will also expand their breakfast and lunch options for their coffee shop patrons and workers downtown in search of upscale box lunches.
Wall, who has seen the Bluff City bakery expand from pre-made baked goods to from-scratch pastries and from a tiny kitchen to one five times larger, will not be around to see the bakery develop. She is leaving Bluff City in March to attend pastry school at Johnson and Wales in Denver, Colorado. Adams is now searching for her replacement as well as three or four bakers and prep cooks to help with their expanding operations.
What will these changes mean for your favorite coffee shop hangout on South Main?
Adams says the freedom to grow in their new bakery space will bring more variety to the bakery case on a daily basis and a number of new lunch menu items.
Bluff City Coffee, 505 S. Main (405-4399)