S. Side

Stephanie Napier pries the letters from a sign before giving them a fresh coat of paint outside South Side Inn along Main Street in New Albany Monday afternoon. Staff photo by Kevin McGloshen

Two longtime customers plan to revive a generations-old downtown restaurant after two turbulent years.

Brent Bagshaw and C.W. Thomas last week signed a lease of the South Side Inn, a cafeteria-style restaurant at 114 E. Main St. They hope to open the doors in late September.

Previous owners Joe Peevor and Angela Hawley closed down in February after buying South Side in July 2006. Before them, Mark Troub and Jeannie Burchfield declared bankruptcy in June 2005.

Bagshaw and Thomas, employees of Essroc Materials in Sellersburg, have no restaurant experience, but they’ve enlisted Kenny Lynch to manage things. Lynch’s resume includes stints at KingFish and Mark’s Feed Store, said Pam Napier, Thomas’s stepdaughter.

The restaurant’s name will not change, Bagshaw said Monday during interior renovation.

“We’re trying to make it back like it used to be,” Bagshaw said. “We hate to see it just go to nothing.”

There is a clear emphasis on maintaining tradition. Bright signs in the windows proclaim “same great menu” and “previous employees welcome.” Napier said one previous kitchen-staff member already plans to come back, and past South Side food vendors are being retained.

Startup costs will approach $80,000, but Bagshaw stressed he and Thomas would hire a staff of about 25, which he estimated was half of what Peevor and Hawley used.

The renovations are intended to provide more space for equipment — as well as a children’s game room — and to “get rid of some of the old-time look,” Napier said. A window has already been cut in the wall between the entrance and the dining room, providing a view from Main Street.

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