Latest concept from Frog Hollow Restaurant Group coming soon
When former Blue Sky Kitchen owner Barry Blackston decided to sell his popular restaurant to fellow downtown restaurateur Sae Shin, owner of downtown’s 1102 Bar & Grill and Soy Noodle House, he was feeling the effects of owning two successful restaurants at once.
Blackston told the Metro Spirit back in June of 2011, “Anyone who’s ever run a restaurant knows that it’s a nonstop…the issues are nonstop. There’s always a plumbing issue or an employee issue and it multiplies when you own more than one business. Somebody’s gotta cook if someone doesn’t show up. If the manager is sick, somebody’s got to be there, and it’s me.”
Blackston and partner Matt Flynn opened Blue Sky around 2000, bringing an upper scale dining experience to downtown that at the time was fresh and new.
Yet, with two small children, he had had enough. And the success of his original baby, Nacho Mamas, afforded him the ability to walk away.
When Blackston decided to sell, he put the word out on a Friday, “and it sold by Wednesday.”
Shin operated the Blue Sky Kitchen a little differently than the prior owners, adding pool tables and a more casual 1102-ish feel.
The restaurant changed hands again recently, with Sean Wight, owner of the Frog Hollow Hospitality Group, becoming the third downtown restaurant owner with multiple concepts to give the corner of Ninth and Broad Streets a try.
The corner, thought by many to be the epicenter of downtown, will have a very new look in the coming months.
Wight’s concept is a Tex Mex tequila bar/restaurant sort of thing. As with the other concepts Wight has created in Augusta, from the fine dining establishment Frog Hollow to the farm to table hamburger joint Farmhaus, the chef/entrepreneur has a very distinct vision he will be bringing to life.
The bar itself will feature many brands and styles of tequila, with the menu being reminiscent of street-cart style Tex Mex.
Along with the new concept, the layout of the space will be very different than it is today.
Wight is removing the glass windows facing Broad and Ninth streets and creating a covered patio similar to the front of the JB White’s building just down the street. The entrance will be pushed back to the current middle of the front room, and the expansion will include the car wash facing Bees Knees.
Wight says there will be a second bar in the ‘back’, while the main bar will remain in the ‘front’ section facing Broad.
The plans are completed and work will begin any day now. “It’s a total gut job. We are going to wind up gutting everything and starting from scratch,” he says. The TACOCAT may be open by Masters of next year, but the jury is out on that.
In addition to TACOCAT, Wight mentioned his most recent restaurant concept, the Frog and Hen in Columbia County, has a few new developments as well.
School starting back has the restaurant staff focused on the drive thru window, which is a popular feature of the from scratch comfort food establishment.
The family of four meal has proven to be very popular as a take home item. It features a whole chicken, two sides, biscuits and sweet tea for $30. The fact you order ahead and don’t have to get out of your car has proven to be a hit with busy moms, as well as the opportunity to purchase a complimenting bottle of wine at the drive thru is not only novel, but convenient as well.
Wight mentioned the new happy hour also, which is daily 3-6pm and features all appetizers and craft cocktails half-price, along with half priced craft beers by the bottle or can.
On Tuesdays the featured entree is meatloaf, Wednesday is fried chicken, and on Friday and Saturday the Frog and Hen features Prime Rib.
Lastly, Wight wanted to be sure and mention $10 bottomless mimosas during brunch every Saturday.
The progression of Augusta’s downtown is exciting to see, and with the TACOCAT soon to be underway, now is the time for Wight to lock in what his next Augusta restaurant concept will be.