DECATUR — One of the few Decatur restaurants to offer livers and gizzards is set to open again.
Tasha Cohen, general manager of Whit’s End on East William Street Road, said work has been ongoing for months with the goal of reopening the eastside restaurant.
“We haven’t told anyone that we’ve opened,” she said, noting customers have been allowed to return to the dining room since Nov. 15. “But people can come in now.”
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Many features have been changed since the restaurant was closed by the Macon County Health Department. The restaurant was found to have a cockroach infestation after a July 6 inspection. After nearly a year of health-related violations, the restaurant’s food permit was revoked.
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During the closure, the staff and owners worked to refurbish and rework Whit’s End. “We’ve made some major changes,” Cohen said.
“But we just want to be prepared,” said co-owner Tina Blazier. “We want to be more efficient.”
Updates include the new drive-through configuration, a smaller menu, and new staff and equipment.
“Even how we take in cash and handle tickets,” Cohen said about the changes. “But we’re still adjusting.”
Management is wanting to focus on what they do well, they said.
“I feel like people come here for, I’m going to say it, redneck food,” Cohen said. “Our livers, our gizzards, our fries, our tenderloin, our fried chicken.”
Healthy options are still listed on the menu. “But some of the things weren’t selling as much,” Cohen said, which brought about the smaller menu. “And we want the kitchen to move fast.”
The building was refurbished with updated bathrooms and dining area. The beer signs were removed and the roof, electrical and plumbing were repaired.
“We pulled everything out of this restaurant,” Blazier said. “Then came back, pressure washed, cleaned, painted, sanded, scrubbed. Everything is stellar.”
“We had to have a new emergency door,” Cohen said. “We had major money wrapped up in improvements.”
The hiring process was also a challenge, as many in the restaurant industry have found. However, the management has used their new staff during the repairs.
The goal date to open was Nov. 15, a requirement from the health department, Cohen said.
The restaurant was allowed to open after a health inspection. Suggestions and requirements on the report included adding a larger, three-compartment sink near the bar.
The report was signed along with a message: "Congrats and Best of Luck with your new business."
Management worked alongside contractors and cleaning crews. “It’s just a process,” Cohen said.
Although the business has been closed for months, that didn't stop customers from wanting their favorite foods. “The phone rang off the hook the whole time,” Blazier said.
The future for the restaurant will include a grand opening — the date for which hasn't been determined. Along with specials and new menu items, the event will be an unveiling of a new buffet. An outdoor patio area is also on their wish list.
The restaurant, which opened nearly 25 years ago, is the area's original Whit’s End, “but we are calling it the New Whit’s End,” Cohen said.
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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR