Stella’s expands to Verdae, with eye on February opening
Tucked away in a nondescript shopping center in the far southern reach of Simpsonville, Stella’s Southern Bistro has been dishing out local, upscale cuisine since 2008, when restaurant industry veterans Jason and Julia Scholz relocated to the Upstate.
In Greenville, the master-planned community of Verdae had been working for a while on attracting a restaurant for its centrally located Legacy Square retail town center.
The result of what might be a perfect business marriage – Stella’s Southern Brasserie, Parkside Provisions and Café at Verdae – is planning to open in February 2017.
“It’s no secret that residents of the Hollingsworth Park community have been waiting for this highly anticipated announcement,” said Rick Sumerel, president and COO of Verdae Development. “Their enthusiasm and patience is about to be significantly rewarded. Jason and Julia have been exceptional to work with during the entire planning process, and their commitment to deliver quality – coupled with their desire to be an integral part of the community – will be a home run for everyone involved.”
“We were looking for creative ways to grow our business and had come across good opportunities, but none that were great,” said Jason. “This one was great.”
“This gives us the chance to spread our wings and build a restaurant from scratch,” said Julia. “It gives us a chance to be more of a regular dining option for people in Greenville. Downtown Greenville is so great. But this gives residents another option when they don’t want to have to go downtown.”
Being directly across from the widely used Legacy Park, near the Hollingsworth Park neighborhood and other neighborhoods such as Gower Park, Parkins Mill and others, made this a great central location, said Julia. “There’s not a lot of upscale dining options nearby.”
“We were looking for creative ways to grow our business and had come across good opportunities, but none that were great. This one was great.”
-Jason Scholz, co-owner of Stella’s Southern Bistro
While the restaurateurs’ philosophy of working with local purveyors and artisans won’t change, the menu and food offerings will be different, said Jason, an executive chef who had opened High Cotton Restaurant in Charleston in 1999 and later relocated to Greenville to open the High Cotton Restaurant downtown as the executive chef.
Expect to see items such as steak frites, braised mussels and a large selection of small plates, all with a “Southern twist,” said Julia. The new restaurant will have a friendly, comfortable bar with hand-crafted cocktails and a full wine list. A communal table will be available for patrons to enjoy “community food that can be shared amongst groups.”
In the Parkside Provisions and Café section, the Scholzes plan to offer a variety of grab-and-go “artisan food items” as well as a robust coffee selection.
Stella’s Southern Brasserie, Parkside Provisions and Café will have a large private dining room that will open to a sizable patio overlooking Legacy Park. The private dining room will be able to accommodate wedding receptions and other special events, said Jason.
The restaurant name has a French flair and the décor will be classic brassiere, said Julia. Open ceilings, tile and wood floors will give the space a “warm, open feeling while trying to bring in natural elements with lots of natural light.”
Patrons of Stella’s in Simpsonville need not fear – it’s not going anywhere, said the Scholzes, who are “dedicated to Simpsonville.” In fact, earlier this year the restaurateurs purchased the Simpsonville building.
“Stella’s Southern Brasserie, Parkside Provisions and Café is a different restaurant, with a different menu. The two can co-exist and complement each other,” said Julia.
A few years ago, the Scholzes purchased a building in the Village of West Greenville intending to open a restaurant there. While that didn’t pan out, the Scholzes said it’s not out of the question for the future, but they are currently searching for a tenant for the building.
Hiring for the new restaurant at Verdae will begin soon. When asked if they had concerns about finding hospitality staff in the competitive Greenville market, Jason said they have adopted the philosophy that if you take really good care of your employees you’ll attract top talent. The new restaurant at Verdae will also give existing employees “an opportunity to grow instead of going to work for a competitor.”
“We’re very cautious about expanding our company and we really feel strongly that Verdae is a sensible and strong area,” said Jason.
“We have confidence that Verdae is going to make a great destination,” Julia added.
Stella’s Southern Brasserie, Parkside Provisions and Café will:
- Serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch
- Create 40 new jobs
- Be 4,000 square feet
- Open February 1, 2017
Architect: McMillan Pazdan Smith, Greenville
General contractor: Mitchell Contract Interiors, Greenville
Interior design: Betsy Berry Interiors, Charleston
Who is Stella?
“If you have seen or read ‘Marley and Me,’ you would understand our Stella,” say the Scholzes. “She was our first love – a terribly behaved, rambunctious, but playful, loyal and loving black lab. Stella is no longer with us, but she is represented in the spirit of the restaurant. Stella’s is just like the demeanor of a lab: genuine, full of energy, lighthearted and always happy to see you.”