MARIETTA — A new restaurant is set to replace the short-lived Bramble Bar & Kitchen on Marietta Square this fall, and the new restaurant owners are a familiar duo.
Scott McCray and Scott Kerns, partners in McCray’s Tavern, which has several locations, including ones in Smyrna and east Cobb, say they hope to open Hamp and Harry’s, serving craft cocktails, lunch and dinner, in September.
The name is an homage to the two Scotts’ middle names — McCray’s is Hampton and Kerns’ is Harrison. The restaurant is located at 168 Roswell St., Marietta.
In terms of drink menu items, McCray and Kerns say they are excited to set free their “beverage guy” from McCray’s Tavern, Stephen Steininger, to come up with some fun and creative craft cocktails. McCray said Steininger is also planning to experiment with cocktail art — foam on top of the drink shaped by a machine into works of art.
A couple drink examples include a chile-smoked Old-Fashioned and in-house cocktail shrubs, similar to a tonic, according to Steininger. He said the restaurant will also make syrups in house, release its own whiskey, partner with distilleries and serve interesting wines.
Steininger said the cocktail art will be made with egg white foams, saline solution and other ingredients with a machine typically used to make latte art at coffee houses.
Lunch will offer “approachable” and light fare, including burgers and sandwiches such as an oyster po’boy and Southwest shrimp wrap, as well as a selection of salads, McCray said.
McCray and Kerns acknowledge that Jack’s New Yorker Deli, which closed before The Bramble took over the space, was a popular and not-too-expensive lunch spot for many in the area. They said they want to remain a place that’s welcoming to that clientele.
“We want to be a comfortable place for people to come and be familiar with what they’re having,” Kerns said.
“What does the community want? That’s what it’s about,” McCray added.
The dinner menu at the incoming restaurant — which is expected to be open seven days per week from around 11 a.m. until “late” — is still under development, the restaurant owners say. But, McCray says they plan to “ramp it up a little bit” in the evenings.
There are also plans for a raw bar, with oysters, shrimp and similar items.
The Scott duo says they won’t have to renovate much in the 2,700-square-foot restaurant to get it ready for their customers. The kitchen is already set up, and the building will only need some smaller touches — new paint inside and out, interior artwork, new bar tops and seating.
Inside, McCray and Kerns say they expect around 60 people will be able to sit at the bar, tables and booths combined. They also say they hope to have eight to 10 tables outside.
McCray and Kerns also intend to use the walk-up window that already exists on the Bramble building, as Marietta’s entertainment district allows diners to walk around the Square with to-go alcohol from 5-10 p.m. on Thursdays, 5-11 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays.
That window will offer a limited drink menu, McCray said.
Mariettans might especially recall the McCray name, as Scott McCray’s brother, Randy, runs Mac’s Chophouse on the Square. Mac’s replaced the former Shillings on the Square after longtime owner David Reardon sold the restaurant in late 2019. Reardon died in March.
Randy McCray also recently announced he’d taken over The Butcher The Baker, next door to Mac’s, and has plans to expand his restaurant into that space.
With a smile, Scott McCray said he had called his brother when The Bramble space became available and asked him if he’d mind him setting up shop.
“He was like, ‘Oh, man.’ But then he was like, ‘Ah, it’s all good. There’s enough people around here,’” Scott McCray said, noting that he and his brother plan to promote each other.
And, he added, it’ll be exciting to open his first restaurant on the Square. Kerns also noted that the welcome from neighboring restaurants and businesses has been warm.
“We feel the Square has a very vibrant atmosphere,” McCray said.
The now-closed Bramble, meanwhile, had a short run on the Square and was at times difficult to catch while it was open, even during posted business hours. The MDJ reported on plans for the restaurant in February.
On its website, the restaurant was described as “a neighborhood gathering place for excellent food, great cocktails, cold beer, & fine wine.”
Representatives of The Bramble did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.