New owners hope to revive West Columbia ‘institution’

July 20, 2012 

A trio of restaurant owners is bringing back country cooking to a popular spot on Sunset Boulevard.

Mrs. B’s will open Tuesday at 1213 Sunset Blvd. in West Columbia, the longtime Sunset Grill site.

“We’re focusing on real good Southern cooking,” said Kirkman Finlay, who will run the restaurant with partners Jesse Bullard and Jimmy Stevenson. The three men also own Doc’s BBQ on Shop Road in Columbia.

“We’re not looking to change a place that has been an institution,” Finlay said.

After the Sunset Grill closed, Southern Skillet was at the Sunset Boulevard location for about two years, closing this spring, Finlay said. The new owners have been working to spruce up the building for the past couple of months – cleaning, painting and adding a few new furnishings.

“Every day that we’re there, people are showing up,” thinking the restaurant is open, Finlay said.

The meat-and-three restaurant will serve a variety of hot, fresh lunches and dinners with seasonal S.C. vegetables, Finlay said.

“Our plan is to not have (a restaurant where) if you lost a can opener, the place might fail,” he said. “We’re focusing more on fresh, trying to have collards in the winter, squash in the summer. … That’s what the market out there loves.”

Finlay also owns Pawleys Front Porch in Five Points, and Bullard and Stevenson own Southern Way Catering in Columbia.

The new owners plan to hire up to about 30 workers, eventually serving breakfast, Finlay said.

They hope to return the location to its status as a beloved community gathering spot. “We want to sort of make it back into the institution that it was,” he said.

Modernized McDonald’s

The McDonald’s at 2230 Decker Blvd. will have a grand reopening July 28 after a recent makeover. Owners Willis and Clara Langley will host the celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with face painting, a bounce house, giveaways, music and an appearance by the Double Dutch Forces.

The redesigned restaurant will have extended hours – from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and around the clock on Fridays and Saturdays. The makeover also includes an updated décor, new landscaping, new flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.

The Decker restaurant is one of several in the Columbia area to be updated under a $1 billion plan by McDonald’s to redesign most of its 14,000 U.S. locations by 2015, the company said in a release.

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