A popular farm-to-table eatery in downtown Spartanburg is heading for a larger pasture.
Joel and Lenora Sansbury, owners of The Farmer’s Table, will relocate their restaurant to a 5,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Zarza Eclectic Cuisine in the Gilbert & Son Co. Building at 149 S. Daniel Morgan Avenue.
The Sansburys, who opened their popular dining concept almost six years ago, said they made the decision to move because they have outgrown their original 2,500-square-foot location in the Farmer’s Marketplace shopping center.
“We have drastically outgrown the space that we we’re in now,” said Lenora Sansbury, a native of Cross Anchor who graduated from Johnson & Wales University’s culinary program in 2003. “It has reached a point where we have had to turn away business. The wait times on weekends are too long… The concept will remain the same, but this will enable us to grow.”
The Sansburys said they signed their lease Friday and plan to open in their new location in early January.
They plan to double their staff from 21 employees to 42. Hiring will begin later this year.
Currently, their restaurant can accommodate 99 diners. After the move, they will be able to seat 250 people.
“This all kind of fell into our lap,” said Joel Sansbury, of Spartanburg. “We are very excited about all of the growth happening in downtown, particularly in the area surrounding our new location. We’re looking forward to being a part of it.”
The couple met while they were both employees at Converse Deli in Spartanburg.
After they were married, they decided to branch out and do something on their own.
“We just thought it was going to be a little sandwich restaurant,” Lenora said. “We just blew up so much. It was faster than we anticipated. Joel loves to tell people that, for the past two years, we have been the top restaurant in Spartanburg, according to Yelp.com. Everyone has been good to us and supported us. The potential in this new space is almost limitless.”
The Sansburys said they plan to do some renovations on the space, which has sat vacant for at least three years.
Construction crews were busy Monday working on Coldwell Banker Caine’s new Spartanburg headquarters next door, as well as the new $20 million AC Hotel across the street that will open later this year.
When those construction projects reach completion, the Sansburys said they will have plenty of parking in at least two adjacent lots and the new spaces along Daniel Morgan Avenue.
The couple said their menu will remain pretty much unchanged. Dishes will still be crafted from fresh ingredients sourced from about 20 local farms and food businesses, including Great Harvest Bread Co., Happy Cow Creamery, and Little River Roasting Co.
They plan to be open for dinner a few nights per week. A dinner menu will feature delicious seasonal items, the Sansburys said.
The restaurant will serve beer and wine, even on Sundays.
Lenora Sansbury said the couple plans to make some modifications to the new space, including expanding the kitchen, and creating a private dining room.
The whole restaurant will be available for rent on weekends for events, such as wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and office parties.
They may have some live music, but those details are still in the works because the couple said they want to be mindful of the residents who live in the apartments above them.
Exposed brick, weathered wood accents, tile floors, and metallic fixtures will give the restaurant an industrial look, the couple said.
The space has accommodated two restaurants dating back to Brasserie Ecosse, later renamed Braveheart’s, which shuttered in 2010.
After The Farmer’s Table moves in, the building will be fully occupied for the first time in many years.
“I’m just going to be honest. I was apprehensive about having another restaurant in that space,” said Greg Atkins, the building’s owner. “I couldn’t feel any more comfortable than I do with them in there. They way they run their business and the following that they have — it’s amazing. I’ve been trying to fill that space. When they came along, it truly piqued my interest.”
Tim Satterfield, vice president and broker-in-charge of Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine, said he is pleased The Farmer’s Table will move next door to his company’s new office.
“The restaurant business is tough,” Satterfield said. “All of the activity we are seeing is a sign of a healthy downtown. We are very pleased to have The Farmer’s Table as our neighbor.”
Andrew Babb and Lianna Saad with NAI Earle Furman represented Atkins and the Sansburys in the transaction, respectively.