Originally created 01/30/05

Fat Man's in Evans to become Pizza Joint



It's out with the Fat Man and in with the pizza pan.

Fat Man's West in Columbia County was sold Thursday to entrepreneur Michael Schepis, who plans to turn the 8,000-square-foot building into his second Pizza Joint location by spring.

The new Pizza Joint will have an atmosphere similar to the downtown location's, said David Hopkins, a Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial agent representing Mr. Schepis.

"We believe this is a great corridor of development for Columbia County and this will be a fantastic area for Pizza Joint's newest location," Mr. Hopkins said.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Public records on the sale were not immediately available.

Mr. Schepis, who declined to comment for this article, opened his first location on Broad street in December 1996.

The new business marks the second time a downtown Augusta restaurant has made plans to move to the fast-growing Columbia County market. George Harrison, the owner of the Boll Weevil cafe on Ninth Street, acquired 2.2 acres on Owens Road near the future Target/Kohl's shopping center with plans to open a restaurant seating 150-200 people.

Fat Man's West opened in 1990 and has been consolidated with Fat Man's Forest, which opened on Laney-Walker Boulevard in 1948.

The transaction, which has been in the works for nine months, occurred one day after Fat Man's West closed its doors.

Fat Man's owner Brad Usry said the transaction was a success.

"Everything went smooth, and we're as excited as can be," he said.

The 1.5-acre property on Washington Road in Evans has a traffic count of 23,300 vehicles daily, said Tommy Saul, a Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial agent representing Mr. Usry.

Mr. Usry said the location served him well throughout the years.

"It has traffic, and it's where a lot of folks want to be. We were more of a destination location and didn't need that high traffic area," he said.

Mr. Usry said his eventual goal is to move the Laney-Walker store to a site near a major thoroughfare. He said the intersection of Interstate 20 and Wheeler Road is an ideal location because it is easily accessible to much of the Augusta-Aiken area.

Mr. Schepis also owns the Modjeska Bar & Lounge on Broad Street.

Reach Adrian Burns at (706) 823-3352 or adrian.burns@augustachronicle.com.