By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - It's been closed several months for remodeling but The Alcove restaurant downtown is set to open once again. The oldest restaurant in the city, which first opened in 1911, is now owned by Karen and Katie Wright. Katie describes the remodel/renovate/redesign project as "re-imagined." The Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting is set for 5 p.m. Friday.
Katie is a chef by trade and when she moved back to Mount Vernon she suggested to Karen changes to the menu and linens. Following that Katie agreed to get more involved and saw lot of potential, even though, at that time, the restaurant was not successful financially. Katie decided she wanted to make a go of it. The remodel began late in 2016. It was designed by Fritz Harding out of Columbus.
Heather Buck, left, Director of Training and Guest Services and Katie Wright, co-owner, in the new Alcove dining room.
KnoxPages.com was given a tour of the new space Wednesday. When you walk in you'll notice the floor plan has changed just slightly with the hostess desk adjacent to the front door. The bar, known as the Library, is still off to your left. The decor features lots of blue, black and white. There is additional restaurant seating than in the old space, as well as two private dining rooms that seat eight. All of the light fixtures and sconces are new and were purchased in New Orleans. Wallpaper in the main dining room depicts scenes of George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Many of the artifacts displayed in the previous Alcove Library bar remain, including signs from former local businesses. There are even some things that were stored in the basement that have now been dusted off and incorporated into the decor.
The Library bar
"We're very proud to be an institution and that's why we kept the name, we kept the library, I think there is something familiar about it, but it's all brand new. I call it a brand new throwback," said Katie. Former employees as well as new employees are part of the staff.
As far as the menu is concerned, the Alcove has involvement with Cameron Mitchell restaurant group out of Columbus. The menu is described as American Classics and, according to Katie, "We are upping the quality and the plating." The new chef is Brock Leach who had been the sous chef at the Mount Vernon Country Club.
The Alcove first floor dining room - KP Photos by Marty Trese
For now, The Alcove will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, dinner only on Saturday. Valet parking is being explored as an option for restaurant patrons.
New restrooms are in place on both the main floor and on the second floor. Dinner theater and private events will be offered on the second floor. The theater space is still being finished.