Originally created 11/05/99

Gem store takes over restaurant



About three months ago, Coastal Grill on Washington Road stopped serving oysters. The owners of the business that takes its place will soon start selling pearls.

Owners of Doris Diamonds purchased the former Coastal Grill on Thursday. They plan to remodel the building and turn it into a jewelry store.

The project is scheduled for completion by next year.

Doris Diamonds will move from its 2,200-square-foot store at Surrey Center to the former Coastal Grill at 2820 Washington Road. The jewelry store's new location has about 4,800 square feet, senior partner Bernard Doris Jr. said.

The owners want the additional space.

"Business has been very, very good for us," he added.

Business wasn't so good for Coastal Grill, however.

The seafood restaurant closed in July, six months after it opened. At the time, the president of the company said sales were insufficient to support the eatery.

Before becoming Coastal Grill, the restaurant was a Fat Tuesday bar and grill.

Real estate agent Lionel Prather, who brokered the sale, said the jewelry store will fit into the rapidly developing corridor to downtown Augusta.

"The area is very vibrant," he said.

Doris Diamonds, which specializes in selling unmounted diamonds, was founded in 1940 by Thomas Patrick Doris and his two sons, Edward Doris and Bernard Doris Sr. Today, the store is owned by Bernard Doris Jr. and Bruce Freshley.

They expect to spend more than $1 million on the project, Mr. Doris said. Doris Diamonds plans to expand and renovate the building so it has a stately, stone facade.

Reach Frank Witsil at (706) 823-3352.