HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Sam and Greg's is staying in downtown Huntsville. In fact, they won't be moving far.
Owner Greg Hathorn confirmed to WHNT News 19 late Friday afternoon that he purchased 116 South Side Square to house his new pizza restaurant. That's just one block away from the current restaurant which is located at 119 North Side Square. The building Hathorn purchased is presently occupied by the law office of Brice Callaway. Hathorn remarked that the deal came together as he and Callaway had been reminiscing about the early days of Sam & Greg’s when Callaway would come in for coffee and a chat.
Hathorn explained the new building is three times larger than the current restaurant. He said they plan to utilize both of the building's two floors, creating an atrium with loft and balcony seating areas which is similar to their Madison location. And, the new downtown Huntsville location will maintain the outdoor seating. "The sidewalk in front of the building is the widest anywhere on the square, so we will have a great outdoor dining space."
Hathorn said the space needs lots of work. He has enlisted architect James Caudle of NewSouth Architects to convert the space into a restaurant.
Hathorn stated construction is slated to start in April, with a grand opening in fall 2019.
In November, the restaurant owners announced that they would have to move from the location they've leased in downtown Huntsville for the last 12 years. He reflected that the downtown Huntsville restaurant scene has changed a lot in that time, "You could hear a pin drop downtown at night. Initially we only opened on Thursday through Saturday nights. We would close at 2pm every other day. We didn’t even open during the day on Saturday and we almost started second-guessing our decision to open downtown. What a difference 12 years make." Hathorn credited Chad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc., saying he was instrumental in their decision to stay downtown.
On December 22 on Facebook, the restaurant detailed its efforts to get an extension from property management to remain in their current location through the summer. They stated, "We truly thought MAG Properties, LLC would provide an extension of our current lease through August. This would allow time for our move, saved jobs, and honored the wishes of our customers. Unfortunately, this is not to be."
WHNT News 19 received a statement Friday from MAG Properties wishing Sam & Greg's well and sharing more about what will be coming to the 119 North Side Square location in the future:
MAG Properties has been a long-time supporter of downtown Huntsville and its many businesses. While it is regretful that Sam & Greg’s must close their downtown location temporarily, renovations of our historic building at 119 North Side Square are necessary to bring it up to code and prevent additional deterioration. It would have been impossible for the restaurant to remain open during such extensive renovations. However, we are so pleased to learn that Sam & Greg’s has secured a new, nearby location to expand their services.
We are excited about the plans for a new multi-use facility at 119 North Side Square and see this move as a win for all of downtown Huntsville. Current plans include greater handicap accessibility, expanded office and restaurant space, modernized and updated restrooms, plumbing, HVAC and much more. The renovation will not only preserve this historic location but provide much-needed space for small to medium size businesses that will eventually bring more revenue and opportunities to the downtown area.
Although this has been a difficult transition, we wish Sam & Greg’s well in their future location and MAG Properties looks forward to continuing to provide safe and up-to-date buildings as part of a vibrant downtown Huntsville.
The property owner said there are extensive renovations that will be done including handicap accessibility, expanded space, and updated restrooms.