Three new restaurants have opened in Greer just weeks before an 18-month streetscape construction project gets underway downtown. Each owner said the project may cause a few disruptions in business, but that doesn’t bother them.
“We’re in it for the long-term,” said Warren Peden, owner of Ira’s Chicken at 107 S. Main St. “We’ve had a nice, warm response so far. Cityscape is just going to make the community better.”
All three owners said they believe Greer is poised to take off with more growth once the $7 million streetscape work is finished and a new $10 million, 106-room Hampton Inn opens in the heart of downtown.
Streetscape construction is expected to start by the third week in January, and city officials have told merchants the work will be staggered to minimize disruptions in foot traffic.
Kristy Echeverri of L’Incanto said she spent 25 years in the restaurant business, getting her start in Florida as a server, hostess and bartender. Her husband Carlos, L’Incanto’s chef, is from New York City and has 33 years of experience, having been named a Michelin Star Chef.
They met in Greenville 10 years ago and for five years operated DaVinci’s Ristorante on South Pleasantburg Drive before closing when the lease expired.
“We heard there were a couple of spaces open in Greer,” she said. “We met with Reno Deaton of Greer Development and looked at the location,” she said of 117 E. Poinsett St. “It was very appealing.”
Peden said he worked in the textile machinery business before deciding to open Ira’s Chicken.
“Textile retired me,” the Greenville native said. “I love feeding people and seeing them have a good time at a restaurant.”
He hooked up with a friend and sets sights on Greer.
“I really like the community feel of Greer,” Peden said. “It’s a place where everybody knows each other, and we wanted that.”
Jeffrey Gossett has operated a successful SELECT restaurant at 880 S. Pine St. in Spartanburg and said he decided Greer would be the right place for a new location at 112 Trade St.
“With all the jobs coming into this area — the population’s increasing — I believe Greer is going to be a big epicenter for that growth,” he said.
He said he doesn’t believe streetscape construction will cut into business.
“Because of our location, they can access the restaurant through the back parking lot,” he said.
Meanwhile, each owner said they expect to draw customers locally and from afar.
“Our slogan is ‘good food, great purpose,’” Peden said. “We want to serve an excellent product with an excellent purpose. Half our profits go to missions for Jesus Christ around the world.”
Ira’s specialty is fried chicken, hot chicken sandwiches and plates, baked chicken and side dishes ranging from handmade french fries, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried grits with tomato jam and homemade baked beans. For dessert, Ira’s offers buttermilk pie and bourbon pecan pie with pralines.
Ira’s Chicken is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed Sunday.
Gossett said SELECT is “modern American cuisine — healthy, fresh-prepared organic food. The reason it’s modern is it’s a little twist on classics.”
For example, the menu features Smoldering Intensity, a unique version of shrimp and grits, he said. There’s also certified black Angus steaks, Cornish game hens, scallops, mussels, tuna and salmon –”all freshly prepared.”
“We make our own dressings and also serve roasted garlic mashed potatoes to collard greens to asparagus, roasted Roma tomato slices, and even macaroni and cheese.”
SELECT in Greer also serves breakfast. The restaurant is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
SELECT also does catering of parties ranging from 20 people to 200 people, according to catering manager Andrea Gonzales. There is also a party room at the Trade Street location.
L’Incanto features “fine northern Italian Cuisine,” according to Kristy Echeverri, serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.
“One of our most popular dishes is raviolo — large ravioli stuffed with spinach, ricotta and parmesan and organic egg yoke, topped with black truffle peelings,” she said. “It’s absolutely to die for.”
With a seating capacity of 98, prices range from $7 to $14 for appetizers such as portabello mushroom — breaded portabello seared, with Chablis and veal jus sauce, fresh basil and tomato and lemon.
Entrees range from $16 to $40 and include a range of pasta, chicken, pork, steak and seafood dishes.
Reservations are encouraged.
Written by Bob Montgomery, GoUpstate.com