Woolen Mills Grill will be serving up homemade southern-style American food
By Katie Demeria
CLEAR BROOK -- It has taken Uday Subramanian a year and a half to restore the old woolen mill. But work is finally near completion, and he plans to have a soft opening for the Woolen Mills Grill during the first week of July.
Subramanian said he hopes to fill what he considers to be a void in the area -- there are few other similar restaurants nearby that are not part of larger franchises.
"This is totally family-style, it has nothing to do with a chain," he said. "It's about creating a good experience."
The history behind the Clear Brook woolen mill, located at 3416 Martinsburg Pike, is not altogether clear, but Subramanian said it is definitely at least 60 or 70 years old.
Subramanian said he was interested in opening the Woolen Mills Grill because he wanted to provide something for local residents that he did not feel he could do at his original restaurant, the Olde Stone Restaurant across the street.
A business owner in the area for four years who lives in Haymarket, Subramanian said he has grown to appreciate those in the community and wanted to give them a comfortable place to spend their evenings.
"I have good, regular customers," he said. "The demographic here is older, and the people are very nice. [The Woolen Mills Grill] is a place they can come, bring their kids and grandkids, and sit inside or on the patio and relax."
It would have been much easier for Subramanian to tear down the original shabby building and build a new one, he said. But he did not want to lose the history, so instead he embarked on the restoration process, which he called "a roller coaster ride."
The newly improved building features stone floors from the original, now repaired so they are no longer crooked, as well as the original wood rafters.
The menu boasts southern-style American food, serving dishes like frog legs and shrimp and grits. They will also serve house chips and pork rinds.
The head chef, Keith Chappell, has experience with this type of cooking.
"It's all homemade food, not frozen or processed," Chappell said. "We're doing it all by hand."
The restaurant will also feature a full bar in one of its dining rooms, and General Manager Jeremy Bartgis said the drinks are unique and unlike what someone may find at a chain bar, including strawberry balsamic martinis and lemon thyme martinis.
Between 15 and 20 individuals will likely be hired as servers and kitchen staff, Subramanian said. The two large dining rooms and patio will provide 85 seats for diners.
Subramanian said he expects to officially open in the middle of July. He will serve guests lunch and dinner, with a brunch on Sunday. Monday to Thursday the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Bartgis said they are also hoping to work with a charity, hosting special nights during which they will accept direct donations. Interested charities can call the restaurant at 540-504-7887.
The restaurant's website will be live soon, according to Bargis, and can be accessed at www.woolenmillsgrill.com.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com