Despite the delay of The North End’s grand opening, the restaurant’s owners, David and Jen Cornwell, are excited to get the ball on a roll before the start of 2021.
The restaurant, located at 77 N. Court St., plans on serving street tacos as its main appeal among other things, including an open-air atmosphere. The original opening date was set to be April of this year but was pushed back to August due to COVID-19 protocols, according to a previous Post report. Even with these setbacks, things seem to be running smoothly.
“As far as the construction, we're really … we're basically done,” David said. “Now, the challenge is getting all our inspections done.”
When asked about a possible estimation of an opening date, David was optimistic but acknowledged that the ultimate decision was not up to him or his wife, Jen.
“We’re at the mercy of the state (of Ohio) in getting licensing,” David said. “The goal is to be open before the first of the year, but … there's no way I can answer the question of when (state officials) can come and inspect and … transfer our liquor license.”
For many students, another restaurant coming to Court Street means increased diversity in the food and feel available to them.
Julia Mattox, a sophomore studying marketing, said she’s heard about the restaurant through friends and by passing the construction on her daily travels. She also said she plans on going to the restaurant once it is officially opened and once she feels comfortable to do so based on COVID-19 cases in Athens.
“I think it would just be something new for people to go to,” Mattox said. “And I think that the other bars and restaurants can get really busy, so it'll be nice to have another place for people to go to.”
Christian Sampsel, a senior studying marketing, shared Mattox’s assessment.
“I think that is a restaurant style we kind of like — tacos or Mexican styles,” Sampsel said.
He also mentioned that a lot of restaurants are closed in the evening, so he hopes The North End’s operating hours will continue into the later evening.
Sampsel and Mattox also spoke about the appreciation that Ohio University students have for new small businesses, a realm that the Cornwells — who also own Courtside Pizza and The J Bar — know well.
“I'm just excited to see something new come into Athens,” Sampsel said. “I think Athens needs it. It's always good to see new businesses — local businesses — come in.”
Mattox was quick to acknowledge the success that small businesses have in Athens as well.
“I think a lot of people here really like supporting small businesses, so they usually do pretty well,” Mattox said.
All in all, the Cornwells are confident that their next entrepreneurial endeavor will see the successes they are hoping for.
“It's fun to bring something different to Court Street,” David said. “Hopefully it's accepted like I hope it will (be) and we can get back to normal.”