White signs with red lettering have appeared in the windows of 148 Roswell St. advertising the new restaurant “The Local” for “Breakfast and Lunch.”
“Everybody has been coming by and looking in the windows wondering what is going on,” said Elizabeth Manning, a property manager at Manning Properties, which owns the building.
Manning said the operators of The Local are waiting to release more information about the restaurant in a large marketing campaign, but she did confirm “they are local Marietta folks.”
The operators of The Local, who recently applied for a business license, will be long-term tenants with a 20-year lease. Manning said this proves their desire to be on the Square.
The corner property, which sits across from the courthouse complex at Atlanta and Roswell streets, has been in the Manning family since it was built in 1900, before Atlanta Street was paved, Manning said.
The space was previously home to Tommy’s Sandwich Shop, which opened in 1977 and closed in March, when former restaurateur Tommy Smith said he could not survive a jump in the monthly rent charged by Manning Properties.
Before it became a restaurant in 1977, the building was home to Groover’s Hardware, which later became Cobb Hardware and moved off the Square.
On Aug. 5, the Marietta Historic Board of Review approved plans for Manning Properties to renovate the exterior of the 4,894-square-foot, red brick building.
David Freedman, who owns a Marietta engineering company and serves on the Historic Board of Review, said Marietta is unique in still having a historic town square that needs to be preserved, while still promoting new businesses moving in.
“Our main goal is to maintain the historic fabric of the building,” Freedman said.
The changes include removing one of the doors on the property and replacing it with a window, installing two larger windows on the side running along Atlanta Street and adding two black awnings.
Freedman said the adjustments will not be a large change.
Work being done to the inside of the property is being paid for by the new business owners of The Local, who are trying to open up the space, Manning said.
“The inner walls are absolutely beautiful,” Manning said, describing the old brick work that is now being exposed from under the plaster. “It is going to be a hometown, very eclectic feel.”
Manning said preserving the copper ceiling and selecting antique windows for the upgrades is an effort to match the feel of the rest of the Square.