Pandemic not enough to slow down new wave of restaurants in the Midlands

Republic Biergarten, Kairo's, Market on Main among the new spots that have opened

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Even though several local businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, some new businesses pushed through these challenges to open their doors in an effort to establish a culinary foothold in the Midlands.

Several restaurants have opened up across Columbia, looking to revitalize the Capital City’s dining scene.

Setting up shop where the Flying Saucer once stood, Jonathan Lemond, the manager of the Republic Biergarten (which is owned by Prestige Dining Group), says it’s been a long road to get his biergarten and kitchen, which held its grand opening August 28, up and running.

“Obviously we weren’t well aware of what the pandemic was going to turn out to be, so it does present its challenges, but we’re moving forward and optimistic about the future,” Lemond said. 

On top of crafting a vision into reality and all the other challenges of opening for business, Lemond said his team had to adjust to state orders halting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. and operating at 50% capacity indoors.

“We definitely had to go jump through some hoops, but with normal operations, DHEC still has their standards and we met all those, so that was a couple months in the making to get up to par with them,” Lemond said.

Republic Biergarten isn’t the only new spot for food in Columbia. 

Market on Main, Kairo’s, Verde, Badd Boy’s Cafe, and The Main Course are among the bunch that have opened in the Capital City in the last six months.

“The businesses that are opening are safe, they’re being smart about what they’re doing with masks and washing, and everything you need to do business in today’s environment is there,” said Columbia Chamber President Carl Blackstone.

Blackstone said having these businesses in new areas beyond the Vista and Five Points is great for other areas of the city like Trenholm Plaza, Devine Street, and Forest Drive, and in turn having more options will bring consumer confidence back to pre-pandemic levels.

Lemond says the crowds of people he’d like to see grab a beer might be smaller now, but he says he wants to create a safe, friendly atmosphere that can last long after the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that everyone can see that, continue to keep, enjoy the food, enjoy the drinks, and still feel safe going about it,” Lemond said.

Categories: Local News, News