Barnhills coming to Atmore

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, August 5, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
It's official. Barnhills will be opening in Atmore in the building that formerly housed the Golden Corral.
Owners Hope and Charles Barnhill came to Atmore Thursday to make the announcement, joined by members of the Atmore City Council and mayor.
It wasn't an easy road to take.
"We've had so many people come to our Davis Highway (Pensacola) restaurant from Atmore, and they would ask us to please come to Atmore," Charles Barnhill said. "I came up, and I liked the town, we decided we wanted to come here."
Finding a home wasn't the challenge. The Golden Corral restaurant closed nearly one year ago, leaving its Main Street building vacant.
But with the smaller Barnhills chain coming on strong in the Gulf Coast region, Golden Corral officials at first refused to sell.
Business partner Bryan Owens said the possibility of putting a Barnhill's in Atmore at first looked grim. "It's been a grueling experience. We began to think this wouldn't happen," Owens said.
It finally took pressure from Mayor Howard Shell and a phone call from Congressman Joe Bonner to the Golden Corral's president before the restaurant company finally agreed to sell.
Owens said the new restaurant should be open for business in about 90 days. The company has already solicited bids from construction and remodeling companies.
Look for the building to be remodeled inside and out, with new air conditioning units and extensive renovations. "We're planning to invest about $250,000 in this location," Owens said. In the future, the restaurant may expand its seating.
The restaurant should employ 40 to 50 people on a full-time basis and several more on a part-time basis. In addition to hiring local employees, Barnhill said the restaurant would look to work with local food and beverage vendors.
Plans call for the restaurant to operate seven days a week and offer breakfast on weekends. Owens said the restaurant may try to offer breakfast seven days a week if it sees enough community interest.
"We're going to have a good place and serve good food, that much I'll promise you," Charles Barnhill said. "We like to keep a close eye on our stores, keep them clean and serve simple, good southern home style food."
The Barnhill's chain is based in Pensacola and operates stores in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and two restaurants in Texas.

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