Specialty burger and craft beer and specialty cocktail restaurant, LR Burger, scheduled to open early in 2019
By next summer, residents and visitors are going to have a slew of new cuisine options in downtown Monroe. Yet another restaurant has announced it will be opening in the downtown Monroe area in the near future – and ground has already broken on the project.
Chris Collin and his business partner, Ben Bailey, co-owners of the Local Republic on the square in Lawrenceville, have decided to bring a similar concept to Monroe. Collin, whose children are students at George Walton Academy in Monroe, said they were approached by the Monroe Downtown Authority about putting in a restaurant in the city. The DDA had purchased the old gas station building at 202 East Spring Street with just that idea in mind. At the August City Council meeting, Monroe’ economic development specialist Sadie Krawczyk announced that the building has now been sold and that is the location where the new eatery will soon begin taking shape. Collin, Bailey and a third partner, Gary Hays, purchased the building from the DDA for their new venture, LR Burger.
“We’re hoping to be open the first part of 2019, as close to January or February as we can,” Collin said. “We’ve purchased the property and they’ve just torn down the law office that was behind it. That was the first stage of the demolition.”
Collin said the eatery will serve specialized gourmet burgers, as the Lawrenceville location does, as well craft beer and cocktails.
“Because it is a smaller location, we can’t do it quite like the Local Republic in Lawrenceville, but when the City of Monroe approached us we wanted to do something that offered an elevated dining experience, so we came up with LR Burger,” Collin said, adding it will be serving freshly made gourmet hamburgers along with local craft beers and a craft liquor menu. “When we originally started the Local Republic in Lawrenceville, we only started with one hamburger and by accident fell into expanding the menu because people loved it so much. We now serve between 12 or 15 kinds of hamburgers – like the Mr. Jones, which includes pimento cheese, bacon, and jalapenos.”
Collin said with his children already attending school in Walton County, he decided to move his family to the area and now lives in Monroe.
“It’s a really nice place to raise a family and the Council is very progressive in its support of the businesses,” Collin said.
The owners of LR Burger are not the only ones who have recently decided to bring more restaurant options to Monroe. Recent announcements of restaurants that will be serving the Monroe downtown area by next year, some already under construction, include the Silver Queen, the new John’s Supermarket, Your Pie, South on Broad and the county’s first brewery, Major Humphrey’s Micro Brewery and Tap Room. It will be located in the old fertilizer plant next to the property that will be developed as Monroe’s Town Green.
With the Silver Queen opening a block off Broad Street to the west, and the Town Green, Major Humphrey’s Micro Brewery and now LR Burger to be developed a block or so to the east of the city’s main street, Monroe’s downtown entertainment and shopping area is set to expand significantly in the coming months.