The Yadkin County Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to approve the addition of a restaurant at Lone Hickory Arena in Yadkinville.
The arena already houses a commercial kitchen and offers concession stand services during events but Leneul Chamberlain wanted to see it expand. When Curt Baity, former owner of Battleground Café, stepped in and started helping Chamberlain with the food preparation the two decided it was time to add a restaurant to the mix.
“When Curt came on I was in working in the kitchen every weekend, and I don’t mind cooking. But I didn’t want to do it all the time every day, so it’s a been a weight lifted for Curt to come in and take on the food,” Chamberlain said. “That’s what he loves to do, so it’s going to be good.”
The restaurant is tentatively named Arena Grill and Family Restaurant.
“I would like to tie the family in too because family restaurant means anybody and everybody,” Baity said.
Baity said that the restaurant will serve country style cuisine and will offer breakfast and lunch for Wednesdays and Thursdays and breakfast, lunch and dinner for Friday through Sunday. He said that he would like to see the restaurant serving three meals a day all week if there is a demand.
The restaurant will generate a few jobs. Baity said that he expects to hire between eight and 10 people to staff the restaurant and kitchen and there will be two shifts on the days when dinner is served.
There will still be a separate concession area that shares the commercial kitchen during events for those that don’t wish to have a sit down meal.
Chamberlain said that the restaurant addition will also help the arena cut back on wasted food.
“We have a kitchen to feed visitors and we waste a lot of food because every once in a while we skip a weekend where there isn’t an event and most everything in the refrigerator has to be thrown out,” Chamberlain said. “Being open during the week and outside of events will help us to cut back on some of this waste.”
Chamberlain and Baity both say that they have received nothing but positive feedback from the community about the addition. They say that everyone who frequents the arena and local residents are excited to have the option of somewhere to eat out close to home.
“A lot of people have asked about having meetings on Thursday nights and this would be a place for them to come,” Chamberlain said. “I think it would be good for the community and good for us. We’ve not had any complaints from anyone at all.”
Michael Poston, Yadkin County Director of Planning and Development, said that an amendment to a zoning ordinance had been passed by the county commissioners in order for the adjustment board to vote on the accessory use at the Jan. 14 meeting.
Poston said that the planning and development department saw a logical change for the location since it is a source for tourism and a similar accessory already exists for vineyards and wineries in the area.
“Because it tied back into tourism we used the same thought process in looking at arena uses where they draw in large crowds,” Poston said. “So having a smaller scale restaurant that could operate without there being a horse show or event would still fit under that tourism language. Really the language we used was the same exact language that we provide for vineyards.”
Chamberlain must still go through the proper channels in order to open the restaurant. Approval must be received from the North Carolina Department of Health as well as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Health.
The board was happy to see the new development for the arena and felt that it would be a positive thing for the surrounding area.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Larry Vestal, adjustment board member. “I think what they’re doing makes sense and it promotes the county.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.