Corner on Union, 120 W. Union St., is Athens' newest fine dining restaurant.
Ric Wasserman, the owner of both Corner on Union and The Pigskin Bar and Grille, 38 N. Court St., said the restaurant was a “natural evolution."
“We’re just going after a bigger market,” Wasserman said. “Pigskin is a sports bar. … This restaurant is more formal and has a lot of fine dining. We have a lot of really good food. People come here for a nice night out (or) a date night. We’re also a great destination for cocktails in the early evening.”
- Calamari: $10
- Winter Green Salad: $11
- Pork Belly: $9
- Shrimp & Grain Risotto: $22
- Chicken & Waffle: $14
- Crab Cake: $25
Wasserman said he is looking to go after a "narrower clientele," specifically adults who work in Athens.
“The over 40 crowd never sets foot in Chipotle,” Wasserman said. “We’re emphasizing the finer side of dining here. This is a more refined atmosphere. I’m more likely to see the people in my own social circle in a restaurant like this.”
The only publicity the restaurant has done so far has been on Facebook, Wasserman said. He said he hopes friends will tell friends, and people from nearby offices will be attracted to the restaurant.
“This is an area where there are a lot of offices … so we think that when the weather warms up people will begin to come in more,” Wasserman said. “When the spring comes, we’re going to build an outdoor cafe on the sidewalk. It’ll also attract a lot of attention to the place.”
The evening menu consists of the concept called “Southern Fusion." There are items featured such as prawns and risotto, salmon, beef short rib and chicken with a green tea waffle. Wasserman said the best-seller so far has a been a brussel sprout plate, which costs $9.
“At this point, we’re just a dinner place,” Wasserman said. “But I think once it warms up and people are out and about, they’ll see us more as a stop in for a quick cocktail or meet a friend after work to have a cocktail or a small plate. I think we’ll become more versatile as time goes on.”
Corner on Union is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Mary-Grace Rapp, a freshman studying pre-nursing, said she would like to try Corner on Union.
“I would go to it if I was wanting to go to a nicer, upscale restaurant for kind of a fancy dining experience,” Rapp said. “But, if I wanted to just get a quick bite to eat, probably not, because of the price.”
Bar manager Rae Ankeney said she believes business so far has been really good, and she already has regular customers. She said the average customer for her includes people in their younger 30s and graduate students, though she has seen few undergraduate students.
“I think we’re trying to fill this niche of having finer food with finer cocktails, and I think the people are on the same page and they want to come here, too,” Ankeney said.
Ankeney said she has been in the restaurant industry for more than a decade, but this is the first where she is able to create her own menu.
“I have pretty big dreams for this place,” Ankeney said. “I think it could be a pretty big contender for the best restaurant in town. I’m here because I like good cocktails and I like good wine. We want to be something a little bit different.”