BizBeat: Fireside restaurant in planning stage

“Globally influenced, locally sourced” is the mantra Jefferson City native Johnny Graham has adopted for his new business venture.

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Johnny Graham hopes to open a new restaurant in Jefferson City in the next year. His preliminary plans featuring a double-sided fire place, wine room, and banquet center were approved by Planning and Zoning last week.

The Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission approved a preliminary PUD Plan last week for the property located on the corner of Lorenzo Green Drive and Tanner Bridge Place to become a restaurant. The city council still has to submit final approval in August, and Graham has a tentative closing date on the property set for late September.

The site plan includes construction of a 3,000 square-foot restaurant and banquet area. Land located behind the property will be available for weddings, special events and possibly a farmer’s market.

Graham said his hope is to come home, after being gone for nearly 22 years. The local entrepreneur has been working on both coasts, as well as around the world. He previously owned his own restaurant at Martha’s Vineyard and a catering company in Los Angeles.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to my roots and bringing back some of what I’ve acquired,” he said.

The potential restaurant will feature a double-sided fire place, creating a welcome atmosphere for both indoor and outdoor dining. Graham hopes to use warm, natural tones and reclaimed wood and incorporate pieces from the current farm house that sits at the 2500 Tanner Bridge Place location.

“Rooted soundly in French technique,” Graham hopes to provide fresh food using as many locally grown and produced ingredients as possible. Graham attended California’s Culinary Academy and has spent time studying under many chefs. He’ll use those many techniques to create new food options for the Capital City.

“I want to create a real sense of community within that building,” Graham related.

The potential restaurant owner said he plans to build a private events room in the downstairs of the building, to be used for special occasions such as birthdays, office or Christmas parties. He also hopes to eventually open the downstairs as a “grab and go” breakfast and coffee shop.

“I’m just really trying to provide something new,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, Graham hopes to have his fireside restaurant open by next summer.

Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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