A year into running her first business, Gabrielle Corbin believes she’s found a recipe for success.
Corbin operates Catch Phrase Cafe inside the Columbia County Library, a spot that has seen several other cafes come and go.
“I found that people really like the personal aspect of it,” she said. “They all know me because I’m here almost every single day.
“They all know me, and they know my staff.”
Corbin, who opened Catch Phrase in September 2011, is the first tenant in the library’s cafe space to renew her lease, she said.
The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dessert items. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, cookies, ice cream, muffins, pastries and of course, coffee.
“People do love the pastries because we make them from scratch,” she said.
Lunch remains the busiest time of day for Corbin and her three employees.
Corbin said she’s benefitted from serving concessions during events taking place at the library’s performing arts center and at the Columbia County Amphitheater.
Just down the street at the Liberty Square shopping center in Evans, Martinez resident Bess Digiacomo opened her first wine store, called Evans Towne Market, on Oct. 1.
The mother of two felt the timing was right with her children old enough to care for themselves after school.
“I’ve always wanted a wine shop,” she said. “I love to entertain.”
At the store, which used to be a motorcycle shop, Digiacomo sells wine, craft beers, gourmet cheeses, speciality foods and gift items.
“I think we’ve got just about 100 different labels in here right now,” Digiacomo said. “We’ll go well above that.
The wine comes from wineries in California in addition to those in Argentina, Chile, Italy, France and Spain.
“My selection – you’re not going to find at the grocery store,” Digiacomo said. “What you see at Kroger or Publix, you’re not going to find in here.
“We’re just taking baby steps right now to see what people want.”
Digiacomo said she also will offer wine tastings.
Several new or soon-to-open restaurants in Evans also will offer varied cuisine choices.
Punjab Grill in Eagle Point Plaza re-opened Sept. 15 under new management.
The restaurant’s new menu includes popular Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala and chicken kadai as well as American food, said new owner Angela Aduri, of Grovetown.
Punjab Grill’s former owner trained Aduri and her staff.
Aduri has previous experience in the food industry.
“I enjoy cooking,” said Aduri, who recently moved from Pennsylvania. “I’m a people person so I just like being around people, too.”
Job applications are now being accepted at the future TBonz Steakhouse on 601 N. Belair Road
Applications can be dropped off at the restaurant’s Augusta location on Washington Road between 2-4 p.m. Monday through Friday or at the new location between 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, said TBonz partner Tom Jastrom.
The new restaurant was formerly Stonecrest Southern Steakhouse and is currently undergoing renovations.
Jastrom expects the Evans location to open before the end of 2012.
“It might be before that,” he said.
Inside Shoppes at Camelot, The Retreat and The Smoker’s Retreat has opened.
The Retreat, a tapas bar and premium coffee shop, is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant does not serve lunch.
The Smoker’s Retreat, a cigar lounge, is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Also recently opening in the Publix shopping center off Washington Road at Towne Centre Drive is Viet Royal, a Vietnamese restaurant.
The location was formerly home to Sabi Japanese and, before that, several previous restaurants including Bo Daddy’s American Grille, Yosko and Widow Brown’s Cafe.