The looming arrival of Masters Week brings with it a mixed bag of expectations for new restaurateurs in Augusta.
In Surrey Center, the management of Oliviana’s Bar Italiano & Pizzeria has “substantially” stocked up the kitchen and tripled beer, wine and liquor supplies, said manager Jennifer Fraley.
The Highland Avenue restaurant is just minutes from the Augusta National Golf Club.
“We’re expecting to be absolutely slam packed,” Fraley said after talking to restaurant owners in the center.
Oliviana’s opened in late 2012. It can accommodate about 125 people indoors and has patio and sidewalk seating.
Six extra servers have been brought on board to help the staff of about 30 with the large crowds, she said.
The restaurant hasn’t changed its lunch hours but will stay open later than normal, Fraley said.
At TBonz in Evans, assistant general manager Suzanne Sinisgalli is more reticent in her estimation of crowd size during Masters Week. She has ordered more glassware for the steakhouse and hired about 10 temporary employees, but she isn’t doing much else differently.
“We don’t know what to expect,” she said. “We just want to know what it’s like the first time so we can prepare for next year and add as we go.”
The 150-seat restaurant, now open five months, is at 601 N. Belair Road – right around the corner from the Lady Antebellum Pavilion, where several events are planned during the week.
“I want to be crazy busy,” she said. “I’m hoping that it is.”
TBonz has operated for 28 years on Washington Road in Richmond County. Maps to the Evans location will be given to diners wanting to avoid a long wait at the Augusta establishment, Sinisgalli said.
She said her restaurant will follow the Augusta TBonz model for Masters Week by offering a condensed menu so diners don’t have long waits for their food.
The restaurant will open at its normal time but is staying open late.
Preparation is the key for the restaurant industry during Masters Week, said Rae’s Coastal Cafe general manager Brian Redd. The cafe on West Wimbledon Drive has been serving Masters Week diners for more than 20 years.
The restaurant begins training staff in January and increases its ordering, and business, by about 60 percent that week, Redd said.
“There’s really no tricks to it,” he said. “It’s all in your preparation and just making sure that your staff knows what to expect.”