Business Columns & Blogs

Shop Around: Thirsty Fellow on tap

Two veteran Five Points bar owners are taking a bet on an area of town that hasn't seen an influx of restaurants, bars and shops - yet.

Their new pizzeria and pub will be on Gadsden street, surrounded by thousands of cars parked by students and staff at USC and people attending events at the Colonial Center. Next door: the university's Greek Village.

William Durkin and Andy Ugarte have teamed up to open The Thirsty Fellow in a new retail building on Gadsden Street next to Miss Cocky.

They hope to have it open in time for the Carolina-Clemson game and Miley Cyrus concert Nov. 28.

Durkin owned a private club in Five Points - Durkin's - for 20 years before selling it in June. Ugarte has owned The Publick House on Devine Street for about 16 years and will continue to operate it.

Ugarte said the business partners are counting on the area being a "slam dunk" for their business with its visibility and easy access. He said it will be a "Vista alternative" with less of a corporate feel.

The owners will add a 1,000-square-foot deck this spring and will host outdoor parties and concerts to blend with what is happening at the Colonial Center.

Hosting country bands when a country act is playing there, for example, Ugarte said.

The eatery will specialize in pizza, and Durkin, along with kitchen manager Dean Weinberger, went in search of the perfect pie to serve. They even took a course from Peter Reinhart at Johnson & Wales to master the light, crispy crust.

The Thirsty Fellow also will serve the regular pub fare, such as sandwiches, chicken wings and salads, Durkin said, and will have a variety of beer, wine and liquor.

The pub also will feature music from Durkin's extensive CD collection and will have two turntables with at least one vinyl night each week. Eight TVs will be installed that will carry football games, but Durkin said it will not be a typical sports bar.

Construction is under way at the 4,000-square-foot pub. Crews are installing tables and lining the walls with 5,000 used books the owners purchased to give the place an academic feel.

"We want to feed off academia," Durkin said.

Shop shorts

- Sears in Columbia Place Mall on Two Notch Road will hold a grand reopening from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The more than 30-year-old store was refreshed and remodeled to make it more customer-friendly.

All apparel was relocated to the first floor, the electronics and appliances areas were redefined and the furniture and mattress areas were expanded. More computer stations were added to help customers order out-of-stock items from the Web. Ted Blau is the store manager.

- Now that Halloween is over, get your turkey taste buds ready. Rosewood Market, 2803 Rosewood Drive, will host a turkey and "turkey-less" tasting 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.