Feeling a nostalgic after a visit home to St. Simons Island... One of my inspirations for this blog is my family's restaurant business...my step-father and mother are the creative/driving forces behind the biz, but all of us kids have worked there at one time or another (some still do). The first restaurant, Gnat's Landing, opened in 1999. A beachy, bar and grill, with a quirky/laid back attitude, Gnat's serves up good ole American fare, inspired by family recipes and travels around the country. The decor is a cross between vintage emporium and local dive, complete with monogrammed mosaic bar top, old chandelier in the ladies' room, mermaid sculpture strung up above the bar stools, and patio full of rainbow colored Adirondack chairs. The story of Gnat's has had new meaning for me in recent years studying historic preservation, because of HP's emphasis on adaptive reuse of existing structures. The building Gnat's occupies, is by no means historically significant, but it resides in one of the oldest "shopping villages" in St. Simons Island (Redfern Village), and was recycled. The previous tenant was a restaurant, and old bbq joint, with minimal seating, and our parentals transformed it into the bright, open-air (weather-permitting) eatery it is today. Having reused an existing structure, plus the personal touches, allowed for the Gnat's to have an immediate flavor/ambiance, as opposed to stucco boxes in strip mall type developments.
Our sister restaurant, Bubba Garcias, is also in Redfern Village, and housed in an adapted space. Bubba's is a tex-mex style cantina, perfect for having a margarita or 3. Taking a nod from the mosaic bar top from Gnat's, all of the table tops in Bubba's are mosaics created by family members and employees, comprised of old dishes, bottle caps, and old photographs.
The newest addition to the restaurant family is the Bubba's Up Bar. Directly above the cantina, in a former office space, is a true throwback to a 1970s basement...think That 70s show. The entire bar is a reclaimed single piece of wood and the decor is made up of personal retro pieces and thrift-store finds over the years.