Plans to open a cigar lounge and tapas restaurant in Evans didn’t come about overnight for friends David Beerman and Richard Hudson.
Frequenters of smoke shops in the area, the two casually discussed what they would do if they were to open a similar establishment. From there, the talk evolved to adding a restaurant.
Fast forward a year and they are working feverishly to have both The Retreat and The Smoker’s Retreat open by mid-August.
The Retreat, a premium coffeehouse and tapas bar, will occupya 2,000-square-foot storefront across from Walmart.
“It’s more Southern-inspired appetizers,” Beerman said.
The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. until midnight Friday and Saturday and closed Sunday.
The restaurant also will offer burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Prices will range from $5 to $12.
“Our theme over there is comfort food to share,” Hudson said.
The bar, which Hudson likened to a “neighborhood pub,” is targeted at patrons ages 35 and older.
Beerman, who lived in Charleston, S.C., for 16 years, said there aren’t many places in Augusta for that age group to go and feel comfortable.
They plan to bring back the feel of the 1960s by serving fine whiskey and vodka cocktails, Hudson said.
Next door, and separate from the restaurant, is a 1,000-square-foot space reserved for The Smoker’s Retreat.
The cigar lounge lets customers purchase and smoke premium cigars and pipe tobacco in the confines of the store, which is the only type business in Georgia where it’s legal to smoke inside, Beerman said.
“It’s a social network more than anything,” he said.
The lounge can accommodate 10 to 15 people and will be open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
A few streets away at a former Evans steakhouse, Tom Jastrom is planning to open his first TBonz Steakhouse in Columbia County.
“We had been looking for a while over there,” said Jastrom, a partner in the restaurant.
Jastrom said he expects to close the purchase this week on the former Stonecrest Southern Steakhouse location, which closed in July 2010.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant at 601 N. Belair Road needs minor renovations and could be open within a month or two of the purchase date, Jastrom said.
“It’s mostly just cosmetic,” he said of the work needed on the building.
As many as 40 to 50 employees could work at the new TBonz, which has been open on Washington Road near Interstate 20 in Augusta since 1986.
A Japanese hibachi and sushi restaurant has also opened a second Evans location.
Toki Japanese Steakhouse now serves customers at 4534 Washington Road, just past Ace Hardware.
The restaurant’s hours at the new Evans location are from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Toki’s original location on Furys Ferry Road in Martinez will remain open.
Another dining option coming to the county is an Applebee’s at the Gateway shopping center near Grovetown, county Development Services Director Richard Harmon confirmed.
In another part of the county, construction has begun on a full-service Steak ‘n’ Shake at the corner of Jimmy Dyess Parkway and Belair Frontage Road. The restaurant is expected to open in September.
The popular burger joint specializes in steakburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. The menu also includes chili, burger melts, sandwiches, salads and desserts.
The 3,500-square foot restaurant will have a drive-through window and remain open 24 hours, seven days a week.