Monday, June 9, 2008

A Fayette Treasure to go away? Village Cafe closing?

It’s almost official. The Village Café is slated to close its doors the end of this month. Owner Tom Shaver is currently out of town so I was unable to talk with him. However, restaurant management and staff have confirmed that the 18 plus year institution and much-loved restaurant is closing unless a buyer saves the day. I’m hoping against hope that someone will step forward and save this important part of Fayette County’s past and present.

The restaurant is a favorite for many and is one of the few independent restaurants to have survived in this age of chains and franchises. The Village Café offers fine dining in a quiet setting. They are known for their friendly, personalized service and outstanding selections. In all the years I’ve been frequenting the Village Café I have yet to have had a bad experience with the food or the staff.

I once drove in the rain to get two bowls of their fantastic Cajun Corn and Crab chowder. My husband, Greg loves the Tuscan Meatloaf. At one point in the restaurant’s past they took it off the menu and only served it as a special. Greg made a comment that he wished it could be on the menu all the time. They made it a point to call him to let him know when it was going to be on the menu. Ultimately they put it back on the regular menu.

Last night my husband and I decided we’d go over for dinner after a long day of campaigning (he’s running for County Commission). Walking into the café was like walking into another world. You forget that you’re in the middle of a shopping.

The economy is sure to have had an affect on business. Yet, if what I am hearing from friends and the staff is correct, Tom is simply ready to retire and no one is stepping up to the plate to buy this wonderful restaurant. The lease is up, so someone could somewhat easily snap up the staff, the menu and the clientele and move to another part of the county.

***I hear tell that the Old Mill is going for somewhere in the neighborhood of four million. Wowzer. That would be a perfect place for the Village Café, but that is a very pricey tag which helps me to understand why, if the cost is accurate, it has been on the market for so long. Johnny Carinos in Fayetteville is also empty. I’m not sure that’s a good fit, but it is an empty restaurant in need of a tenant. Just outside Peachtree City the now-closed Buckhead Brewery & Grill building is available. I’m sure with a bit of thought I could find a few more spots a new owner would find workable.

The Village Café is a place where you always run into someone you know. It’s a place where everyone goes the extra mile to make sure you’re happy. When the Village Café goes away, another important part of Fayette County will go away. We will be losing one more thing that helps to set this county apart from the rest. We will be losing just a little bit of our uniqueness. I’m sorry to see them go and I’m hoping for a miracle.

*** We were quickly set straight on the price for the Old Mill. The asking price is $1.7 million! It sits on 4.25 acres, which may be where the price mix-up came from. We'd love to see someone snatch up the Old Mill, keep it intact! We'd love to see the Village Cafe in the building! If you haven't seen the Old Mill, drive down Hwy. 54 between Fayetteville and Peachtree City. It's the gorgeous place with the lake behind it, a water fall easily visible from the porch and glassed windows. It used to be one of our favorite places to eat. We did our part to keep the fish happy and fat after we ate and were a bit happier (although hopefully not fatter ;-)

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