Larkin’s announces new Italian restaurant in former Playwright location

Larkin's will open Italian concept Limoncello in the former Playwright Pub location this fall | photo by Logan Brown

Larkin’s Restaurants has announced a new restaurant in the former Playwright space at RiversEDGE, 401 River St., in downtown Greenville. Opening in the fall, the new concept, Limoncello, will bring an Italian dining experience based on owner Larkin Hammond’s Italian roots.

“I love Italian food. I grew up on it,” says Hammond, who also owns Larkin’s on the River, Larkin’s Catering & Events, and Grill Marks in Greenville. “When I was young my Italian family would sit around the dinner table for hours. No one spoke English of course.”

Limoncello will serve authentic Italian food from the region of Italy where Hammond’s grandparents and mother grew up, she says.

The menu will be developed by Larkin’s executive chef Alex Castro and Larkin’s COO Bob Munnich, whose background is also Italian, from hundreds of Hammond’s grandmother’s recipes. Hammond says they will be looking for a chef to take over once the menu is developed.

“We are creating a real Italian experience complete with an outdoor piazza,” Hammond says. “Our guests can step away from the streets of Greenville for a moment and enjoy lunch or dinner in a park-like setting. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation, even if it is just for an hour.”

Renovation plans for the 6,000-square-foot space call for getting rid of the former Irish pub concept and constructing the piazza outside on the current patio. Ownership is currently working on the piazza design.

“It will take some time and we will not open until the food and atmosphere are perfect,” Hammond says.

The former Playwright Pub, owned by Jason Fletcher’s High Street Hospitality Group, was rebranded Broad and River Pub in January and closed in March.

Phil Hughes of Hughes Investments, Inc., the development’s owner, says once vacated, the space received a lot of interest from numerous parties.

“It’s a great reflection of the magnetism of downtown Greenville,” he says.

After running the numbers, the Larkin’s concept seemed the best business decision.

“They know how to operate a good restaurant,” Hughes says.

Hughes, who also spent an extended time in Italy, says he’s especially excited for this concept.

This will be the second Italian restaurant concept owned by a Greenville restaurant group to open this year in a Hughes Investment development. Jianna, a 5,800-square-foot modern Italian restaurant owned by Table 301 Restaurant Group, opened in Falls Park Place March 7.


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