Nicholas St. Clair is expanding his family but not his restaurant portfolio.
The owner and chef of Antebellum, a fine dining restaurant on Main Street in Flowery Branch, has decided not to open Peyton’s Pie Company in a new commercial/office building under construction off Main and Mitchell streets.
“We’re just kind of pulling back,” St. Clair said. “I just had a newborn, so we’ve got three babies … and keeping up Antebellum takes a lot of time and dedication.”
In 2017, Antebellum was named one of the top 100 restaurants in America as voted by Opentable.com diners. The website connects diners to restaurants and features restaurant reviews. Diners also may make reservations through the site.
Pizza could, however, find its way onto Antebellum’s otherwise gourmet menu, as part of an expansion project.
“We’re working with contractors and architects to give us an idea of what it’s going to take to do that,” St. Clair said. “We’d like to probably see if we could fit a couple of pizza ovens in the back. It looks like we’d have plenty of room to do that.”
St. Clair used to operate a Peyton’s Pie Company — named after his firstborn son — in Gwinnett County, and was able to build up a following, he said.
“We had a lot of people who loved our pizza and loved coming (to the restaurant). I think that’s the part we’re saddest about (not opening in Flowery Branch).”
“He’s being a good dad — what am I going to say?” said Karen Ching, the new building’s owner.
In its place will be a Churchill Cigar Lounge, a place where patrons can puff cigars, order alcoholic beverages and eat snack meats and cheeses.
“I’ve been into cigars, so this has been a side dream of mine,” said owner Will McDaniel, who’s also working to get his real estate license. “We just found the right opportunity, and this is the perfect place to get into it. Flowery Branch needs something along these lines to help (draw) more traffic in that area.”
A craft beer store, Beer Me, is still planned in the new building, along with offices of Home Care Matters, a caregiver service.
The building could be completed by July 1, Ching said.
She said Home Care Matters could be in the building by then, but she wasn’t sure about opening dates for the beer and cigar businesses.
“It depends on the cooperation of the (City) Council and the city government for their liquor and beer licenses,” she said.
“The sooner, the better,” said Beer Me owner Robert Sabbath.
Sabbath was co-owner of the former Growlers on Main at 5509 Main St. In an earlier interview, he said the city-owned spot near the Historic Train Depot was a “good location, but it’s going to be nice to have a spot that was designed by us.”
Churchill Cigar Lounge’s opening “shouldn’t be too far after the building is completed,” McDaniel said.