Hermitage Grill reopens

Popular Lakeside restaurant was closed for 13 months following fire
The popular Hermitage Grill in the Lakeside area reopens today after being closed for 13 months following a kitchen fire that damaged the restaurant's interior last year.

The April 17, 2010 fire started on the stove and ignited the overhead hood system. Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes and the flames were put out quickly. Although no one was injured, the restaurant suffered damages from smoke and the hood system was ruined.

There was never any doubt that the owners of the eatery, John Meyers and Waller McCracken, would want to reopen their business. They had been planning to expand prior to the fire and even after the incident they were determined to get back up on their feet. After 13 years of business, renovation and expansion were not difficult decisions for them to make.

Nancy Smith, the new head chef, has been anticipating the reopening.

“We wanted to get right back into business as soon as possible,” Smith said. “With the permits and everything else, we did it piece by piece by piece. It was not a difficult decision to expand, renovate and rebuild after the fire.”

There were several additions to the restaurant.

“The entire kitchen area, the left side of the building, has been expanded. There’s a much larger cooking service, brand new equipment and a walk-in freezer,” said Smith. All of the inside walls were also redone because of the previous smoke damage.

“We were teeny-tiny before, but now we’re spread out quite a bit,” Smith said. “We are able to accommodate 49 people at the current time and after we’re back up and running we’re looking to expand onto a patio area which would pretty much double that.”

The menus also underwent a few changes for the reopening. A new variety of southern seafood cuisine including mussels, clams, and oysters will be offered on the evening menus. Despite the alterations, customers can still enjoy the popular crab cakes and North Carolina style barbeque that the restaurant had been famous for in the past.

The Hermitage Grill is located at 6010 Hermitage Road in Lakeside.

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The Saint Gertrude Alumnae Association Board will present the annual “Holly Spree on Stuart Avenue” from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 18 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Over 40 local vendors will be selling items including wreaths, soaps, Christmas items, pet items, jewelry, scarves, hats, frozen casseroles and more. Tickets for the “Pre-Spree” on Nov. 18 are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. On Saturday, admission is free and there will be pictures with Santa and a trip through Santa Land. For details, visit http://www.saintgertrude.org/hollyspree. Full text

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