New owner planning to spruce up restaurant

The Hi Neighbor Restaurant’s new owner plans to spruce up the building and keep it as an eatery.

Josh Battino, owner of Battino Contracting Solutions and Battino Development LLC, bought the longstanding Strasburg dining spot at auction last month for $160,000. The restaurant at 192 W. King St. went up for auction after previous owners Samuel and Mary Mumper, who ran the business for more than 10 years, experienced financial troubles.

The new owner said Wednesday that he intends to make some renovations to the  property and then find a partner to run a restaurant out of the building.

“I think everyone that I’ve talked to would like to keep the name and some of the nostalgia of the concept and I’m definitely open to that,” Battino said. “I don’t want to bring someone from out of town. I’d like to partner [with] someone who’s local, who understands the community.

“Everyone wants there to be something nice there,” Battino added.

Battino’s project portfolio lists dozens of restaurant locations in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region. Battino’s business specializes in interior build-outs by which they renovate older buildings and make them available for another user. Renovations can be drastic, depending on the age and condition of the building, Battino said. In some cases, his company tries to turn a property into a “better version of itself,” he said.

“So we have clients that we’ve worked with over the years who want to refresh,” Battino said. “That’s what I’m hoping this project will be, more not having to gut the whole place and start from scratch, cost-prohibitive.

“This would be something where the bones are good, you have the power and the hood and the gas service and all the elements you need to do something,” Battino said. “You improve upon what’s there.”

The property likely doesn’t need extensive remodeling, Battino said. The owner expects to do some work to the kitchen and to the structure. Battino said it appears that some equipment might have been kept in parts of the building that was not designed to carry the weight for a long time. Battino would fix these types of issues.

“You want to keep the renovation costs moderate and then that way you can have a concept that charges a fair price and keep competitive,” Battino said.

Battino and his wife recently moved from the Leesburg area to Quicksburg and relocated the business to Edinburg. They’re building a home in the area so their children can attend school in the county, Battino said.

Prior to the Mumpers, Amanda Zimmerman and Bruce Hoertel ran the Hi Neighbor. The restaurant has been in operation since at least the 1980s.

Shenandoah County property records show the Mumpers bought the Hi Neighbor from the previous owners for $285,000 in July 2003. The county last assessed the property for $139,300.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com