Dye's Southern Grill opened for business Tuesday. The restaurant moved from Columbia Road to its new location in the Columbia Square shopping area.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
More than 200 hungry customers turned up for Dye's Southern Grill grand opening Tuesday, which is no small feat considering restaurant owner Howard Dye didn't even bother to advertise.
"I can't imagine what it would've been like if we'd told a lot of people," Dye said between sips of sweet tea as he walked through the massive restaurant. "On Friday - catfish day - I bet it's going to be really crazy."
At 13,000 square feet, Dye's new location in the Columbia Square shopping center is more than four times larger than his previous spot on Columbia Road.
While renovating the large space, which used to be Columbia Square Cinemas, contributed to setbacks in the restaurant's opening, it also gave Dye options that were impossible before.
"You have to remember this place used to be four theaters," he said. "We've been able to make each different theater into a different section of the restaurant."
The main dining area, decorated with oars, fishing photos and stuffed fish hung on peach-colored walls, seats 124 people. Decorated in golf memorabilia, the section next to the main dining room offers space for small meetings or extra diners. Another theater area has been converted into a sports bar and smoking section. The theater on the far left is now a large banquet hall with a dance floor.
"This is the only mid-size banquet hall I know of in Columbia County," Dye said. "From here, we can do wedding receptions, sports banquets, all kinds of things."
Prior to the restaurant's opening, the banquet hall had already been booked several times over, including an event for Saturday, Dye said.
Dye maintained the spacious lobby area the old theater afforded and built a kitchen, separate from the main kitchen in the back of the restaurant, behind the lobby just for take-out orders. He said he might eventually turn the space into a 1950s-style soda shop, he said.
"The best thing about the lobby is that a lot of people go to restaurants and are cramped into this tight space while they're waiting to get seated - sometimes up to an hour," he said. "This will give them some elbow room while they're waiting."
The "elbow room" wasn't the only reason Dye was attracted to the Flowing Wells Road location.
"We have a lot more visibility here than we did before," he said. "Also, with all the things that are happening around here, especially with Gerald Jones doing all of his renovations across from us, we're going to have around 150 to 200 customers working in the same shopping center."
Dye's serves a buffet style lunch that includes various meats, vegetables and desserts. The dinner crowd can expect a steakhouse style dinner menu.
"We'll be serving fish, lobster tails and pure Angus beef steaks," Dye boasted. "Columbia County doesn't really have its own steakhouse-style restaurant, and we're hoping to fill that gap."
Dye's is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. To place a take-our order, or to reserve the banquet room, call 855-1720.
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