Thursday, September 14, 2017

Downtown Sumter Revitalization & Progress


     I'm sitting in C. Anthony's Menswear devoid of customers as Hurricane Irma closes it's jaws on the South Carolina coast.  Good time to write as it is quiet except for some Bob Dylan on Pandora.  Feeling blessed we skirted disaster - unlike my friends in Florida.

     Looking out the vast 60 feet of windows from my store into downtown Sumter, I'm reflecting on what all has transpired since my move to downtown in Feb. 2015.

    I knew a lot of projects were getting ready to transpire when I made my move, but seeing a lot of it coming to fruition is very exciting.  The Hyatt Place Hotel is advancing at a rapid pace, expecting to be open by March 2018. 

     To the East across the street on Liberty St. is Sumter Economic Development's new building which has some older folk in Sumter "stunned" with it's modern looks.  The project should be done by year's end. 

Personally I like the modern with the traditional.  The building stands for industry and it's progression in Sumter's community. It is nothing short of positive for future prospects. Kudos.

     Here is the rest of the scenario for downtown's near future progress in entertainment, restaurants & bars.  To my South on N. Main is J. O'Grady's restaurant who was an early fixture in downtown revitalization. 

Great food, local sports legends theme, a good people watching spot with out door tables.  Next just South a few spots is Sumter Cut Rate & Soda Fountain.

A throw back to the fifties with an excellent cheeseburger, meat & 3, real milkshakes & the famous Cut Rate club sandwich that adds their famous chicken salad - open for breakfast & lunch.  

Just South on same side of sidewalk is Serendipity, a meat & 3 & catering restaurant.  

Soon to open a few doors down from Serendipity is The Sidewalk Cafe.  

Located in the newly renovated Watson Building, the Sidewalk Cafe is investing 1 million into the project.  According to owner Dr. Tracy Fleming they will have a restaurant & separate coffee shop.  Downstairs "A healthier approach to Southern cuisine".  Upstairs will be the Coffee Shop, and Fleming says "all bets are off" for healthy eating, which will feature homemade bagels, bagel breakfast sandwiches, muffins & a homemade "whoopie pie".  We will welcome her project soon.

     Turning to the North of my store on N. Main one spot down will be Hyatt Place Hotel with just shy of 100 rooms.  It has a more historic flavor to it's exterior and will soon electrify "walk-ins" for our restaurants, bars, entertainment and retail merchants.  How impelling that guests can sleep, walk to restaurants, retail shopping and bars.  Nothing of the sort is in Sumter without taking a risky walk on the highway.

     Walking North on the West side from The Hyatt Place are 2 bars.  "Main Street Tavern is a favorite of many of the younger crowd. 

 "The Tavern" has good bar food, good booze and lots of friends.  Over 75 different domestic craft beers and an awesome staff to boot.  North of  The Tavern is Sidebar Downtown Sumter.  

A bourbon inspired bar with over 100 selections is paired with a phenomenal bar food menu.  From pimento cheese burgers to a local favorite "Taco Tuesdays" which include 6 type of tacos.

     Back to C. Anthony's and the eastern side of N. Main St. & Liberty.  A new Subway in a renovated building.  Open for breakfast, lunch, supper.  Walking North is the newly renovated Sumter Opera House (S.O.H) which is consistently becoming a sound venue for great music & comedy acts.

  This will play well with the Hyatt located directly across the street from S.O.H.

     Left of and in same building of  S.O.H. is City Centre, a venue that you can rent for events up to 200 people. With original hardwood floors & big windows that overlook Main St. is a comfortable space.

     Next door to S.O.H. is a renovation by Hamptons Restaurant, which is presently located right around the corner on Hampton St., rated in the Top 10 Restaurants in South Carolina and a regular on Wine Spectators Top Awards winner.  Sumter is lucky to have such a treasure.  Executive Chef Raffaele Dall'Erta's philosophy is simple "I want to create good food that makes people happy".  He always makes us Happy!  

                         Hamptons Menu

Hamptons' menu is filled with fresh local ingredients, including local seafood, produce & meats.  The menu is a showcase of regional cuisine with an international flair.  The new Hamptons is currently under a full renovation  with a state-of-the-art kitchen.  Fine dining downstairs and a large private dining room upstairs.  Adjacent upstairs will be a new bar "Rafters" with a roof top bar that over looks La Piazza, a new outdoor venue next door that will boast a 60 foot bar, stage, sustainable wall, fire pits & heaters. The menu will be Italian inspired with wood fired pizzas &                         
charcuterie boards.  Live bands are scheduled for La Piazza on the new stage & you can rent the space that will hold up to 400 for wedding receptions or large parties.  What a great addition downtown thanks to visionaries Greg & Danielle Thompson.

     Next to La Piazza is a downtown staple, Jin Jin Chinese restaurant.  Most use as a pickup but they do have in house dining. 

 Jin Jin is known for their lunch preparation and easy pickup.

     As I understand several more restaurants are unfolding on the horizon.  Right now downtown is at 9 venues & the S.O.H.  Should have around 11-15 within the near future.
      Come Visit.

                                Chip Bracalente