After nearly 40 years of operating Stephano's Restaurant in Lexington, Stephen and Karen Lollis handed the keys to new owners last week.
Stephano's opened on Columbia Avenue in Lexington in 1977.
“When we opened this was a two-lane road out front and we were surrounded by farm land and some houses,” Stephen Lollis told The State in September. “Bi-Lo was across the street and there was a gas station next door but that was about it.”
A Greenville native, Lollis initially partnered with Karen’s uncle and opened the restaurant as a pizza house known as Piccolo’s. After three years, Lollis bought full ownership and changed the name to Stephano’s based on the recommendation of his Hungarian-born wine salesman at the time.
Despite a fire in 1990 that nearly destroyed the restaurant and took six months to rebuild and reopen, Stephano's seemed to be the one Columbia Avenue business that stood the test of time.
“The customers were pulling for us all the way," Stephen said.
The new owners, husband and wife team Blair and Ashley Sims, plan to reopen the Columbia Avenue eatery as The Root Cellar and will feature locally grown meats and produce. Blair Sims, an Orangeburg native, and brother, Henry, opened Uno's Chicago Grill on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington in 2003.
▪ Also, Romano's Macaroni Grill at 148 Harbison Blvd. closed earlier this month. Attempts to reach the national Italian restaurant chain's media relations contacts have been unsuccessful. The closing of the Harbison location leaves Greenville as the only city in South Carolina to have a Macaroni Grill. There are six locations in North Carolina, including two in Charlotte.
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