Originally created 10/12/06

Pastel draws up plans for expansion in Aiken



As Pastel on Central in Augusta nears its second anniversary, Cheryl Grace hopes her newest project across the Savannah River will have its own success.

"It's going to be very similar to this," Ms. Grace said of Pastel on Richland, which is scheduled to open in Aiken on Monday, Nov. 6. "The two differences are we will not serve lunch. There will be coffees and teas and nice pastries. The one there will have a boutique for women's clothing and accessories that doesn't require a dressing room."

Pastel on Central celebrates its anniversary Saturday, Oct. 21. In addition to the food, the shop serves as a gallery for local artists to display and sell their works.

"We have 39 artists," Ms. Grace said of the Augusta shop.

The artists include some with established names in the community and college art students. Their works include paintings, sculpture, jewelry and furniture.

With the Aiken shop, Ms. Grace and her partner, Phillippe Chin, the owner-chef of CuiZine on Richland Avenue, started the same way as they did in Augusta. They purchased an old building and renovated it.

In Augusta, they own several buildings along Central Avenue. Three artists use one as a studio, and another will be a chocolate shop toward the year's end.

Pastel on Richland is next to Plum Pudding at the corner of Richland Avenue and Laurens Street.

Ms. Grace said she had hoped the new art cafe would be open in May, but they encountered more problems in the restoration than anticipated.

"I've been working seven days a week, 16 hours a day," she said. "It's exciting. It's really coming together."

Ms. Grace said she's looking forward to doing business in South Carolina.

"It's nice to get back on my side of the river," said the former North Augusta resident.

With all the new growth in Aiken, now seems to be the perfect time for expansion, she said.

"Many positive things are happening (there)," Ms. Grace said.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.