The Place on Broad offers 'eclectic Southern' fare

The Place on Broad is bringing Southern cuisine with a twist to downtown Augusta.

The restaurant and bar at 1135 Broad St. had a "soft opening" in late June and started serving lunch last week. Its owners are gearing up for an official grand opening at the end of July, said general manager Suzanne Diaz.

The Place on Broad is owned by Vance Shimley, a local resident, and his father, Elliott Shimley, who lives in Griffin, Ga. The restaurant is the former location of White Elephant Cafe, which Vance Shimley purchased in 2007 and allowed chefs to operate.

When the White Elephant closed in September 2009, Shimley said that he allowed the building to remain vacant until he decided on his next project. He and his father, a beef farmer, partnered to open The Place on Broad and completed a facelift of the facility.

"There's no better place to be than Broad Street, especially for a restaurant," Shimley said. "We've got the most beautiful bar, I think, in town. When I walked in the very first time years ago, I saw the bar, and I thought there's so much potential here and it's right on Broad Street. Broad Street is definitely the place for this type of business."

His father came up with the name one day when they were brainstorming. Shimley thought "The Place on Broad" was catchy. If someone asks where the restaurant is located, the name tells it all. The restaurant has developed the lunchtime nickname of "The P.O.B.," he said.

The Place on Broad is open seven days a week and has 10 employees.

"Everything is made to order and made in-house. We call it 'eclectic Southern.' It's your classic dishes with a twist, our unique style of it," Diaz said.

The menu, for example, includes sweet potato fries served with pecan praline syrup and fried green tomatoes topped with homemade pear relish, and "tournedos": beef with a green peppercorn brandy veal sauce that Diaz said is unique to the Augusta area.

"It's all about a warm, friendly environment. We want people to come as they are and have a good time," Diaz said.

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