Originally created 01/16/04

Restaurant closes on high note



No. 10 Downing Street in Aiken served its last almond- coated sea bass and rack of lamb Dec. 31. Owners Jan Waugh and Ginnie Huckabee closed after 15 years.

"It just seems right to finish at the end of the year," Mrs. Waugh said. "We had a big dinner, and some of our past and present employees came to toast us and wish us well."

Mrs. Huckabee has moved to Brevard, N.C., but Mrs. Waugh will remain in Aiken until a buyer can be found for the business. She said she hopes it will reopen under the same name but is looking forward to having nights and weekends off again. There is also some satisfaction in ending the endeavor on a high note.

"We wanted to close when we chose to so that people still thought well of us," she said. "We were part of so many celebrations because we could have a private dinner party for 12 or a wedding reception for 200. So we were part of these family celebrations. It was a special place."

The Central American restaurant Rio Bomba has moved from Riverwalk Augusta to 2906 Peach Orchard Road.

The restaurant, which opened in 2002, reopens Wednesday in its new location.

Owner Carolyn Rodriguez said the shift of crowds from the riverwalk to the Augusta Common drastically affected business.

"When they had these events, they barricaded the roads, and it was hard for customers to get here," she said. "I came in on a Sunday, and they had Reynolds street blocked off for a race, so we didn't even get our after-church crowd."

The menu is unchanged, but prices might be lowered.

New hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. A lunch buffet will be offered Saturdays.

"It's a little bigger, but we don't have pool tables. We'll still have karaoke on Fridays, and on Saturdays, we'll open again at 10:30 p.m. as a salsa club," Ms. Rodriguez said.

The new number for Rio Bomba is 364-5106.

Bees Knees, the tapas restaurant at 211 10th St., is now serving lunch and offering combination plates for customers who don't want to share their food.

The restaurant opens for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday and at noon on Saturday.

Kristi McFarlain said she and co-owner Eric Kinlaw knew they wanted to be known as a late-night eatery when they opened in August 2002, and they decided to build off that success. The menu is the same, but emphasis is more on salads and individual plates.

" We have combination plates for people who don't want to do the sharing of tapas," she said. "It's a perfect amount of food for lunch."

Reach Patrick Verel at (706) 823-3332 or patrick.verel@augustachronicle.com.