John’s Supermarket to expand, add a restaurant
No, it’s not a repeat of a headline from last week, last month or any one of several stories about new restaurants coming to Monroe that have been featured over the last few months. There is indeed yet another new eatery headed for the Monroe downtown area. John’s Supermarket hopes to get the green light from the Monroe City Council next month to bring some major changes to South Broad Street with a complete makeover of the store – along with a new restaurant to serve the local area.
Greg Thompson, former mayor of Monroe and owner of John’s Supermarket, said the plans for Johns Supermarket include not only building out to the road to accommodate a restaurant that will seat about 50 people, but also building up to add six two bedroom, two bathroom loft apartments.
“We hope to break ground in January and open sometime in May or June 2019,” Thompson said. “My son’s actually with me now. He’s going to be the chef of the restaurant and he’s doing some recipes now. He’s making homemade chicken salad and homemade pimento cheese. Everything in the restaurant will be made from scratch. He’s got a great fried chicken recipe and a great meatloaf recipe. Our plans are we will seat about 50 people in the restaurant, but we also have meals to take home to bake or you can place an order online and have a hot meal to take home. It will be whatever you want. You can eat in the restaurant or you can take it to go. It will all be restaurant quality food, not just like a deli where they get the food in frozen and then fry it up and put it out for display. It will be fresh products. Most of the foods we sell in the store now, so it all be made from fresh produce.”
Thompson said his son, Michael, got his taste for working in the restaurant business at Amici’s in Milledgeville while he was in college where he worked himself up from washing dishes to becoming a chef. He is currently honing his skills with different culinary ideas and Thompson said they will be holding tastings from time to time to give the community an opportunity to get a taste of what’s to come. They will be making their own barbecue sauces and rubs and smoking their own meats. They even hope to be able to cure their own hams for any sandwiches they serve.
“His last job was the chef at Aubri Lane in Milledgeville, but he has now come home and will be the chef at the restaurant here,” Thompson said. “We also will be serving beer and wine, so you can come in and drink a beer or a glass of wine with your meal.”
Thompson said they will be serving a few daily meat options with six or seven vegetable options to go along with it. Initially, they will be serving lunch and dinner, but expect to expand to breakfast at some point. Another benefit, the grocery section will be much larger and you will be able to finish your meal and grab a couple of items from the grocery store that you may need before heading home. Thompson said they also hope to get to a point where they will be serving higher-end wines in the restaurant that you can get a taste with your meal and, if you like it, buy a bottle to take home with you.
“It will be a one-stop shop,” Thompson said.
The plans have gone in front of the planning commission and need one more appearance to finalize some of the details before going to the City Council for approval next month. Thompson said the old John’s Supermarket building that most recently housed Milo’s Restaurant will be torn down for parking. He said the new building will pretty much double the current footprint of the grocery store, with the restaurant taking up the front section on the S Broad Street side and the rest being the expanded grocery store. The whole second story will be for apartments.
“We’re one of the few downtown grocery stores still in existence. The restaurant scene in downtown is fixing to explode,” Thompson said. “This will bring more food options to the South Broad area.”
Last year, the Monroe City Council approved two apartment complexes in the Mill District of South Broad that would bring many new housing options to the area. There also will be the new Town Green, Major Humphrey’s Brewery as well as South on Broad and Your Pie to help bring the south side of Monroe more into the downtown mix.