The old Lombardi's space on Harbor View Road was recently purchased by longtime James Island residents Bobby and Carol Newman. The couple have made careers in the construction and real estate businesses respectively, but "Bobby's always wanted to do this," says Carol. And with the recession slowing down their industries, the two — along with Bobby's brother Randy — are jumping into the restaurant world, not a huge leap since they both have some experience in food and bev. Carol owned a sandwich shop on Isle of Palms back in the 80s, and Bobby's mother owned a bar and restaurant in West Ashley for years.
Carol sells real estate for Trademark Properties, which listed the Lombardi's property after it closed in August and never reopened. At first, the price was way too high, she says, but then "they reduced it to a number so low it was too stupid not to buy it."
They're preparing the space for a Nov. 23 opening. The new restaurant will be called La Tabella and will have Italian-American cuisine with steaks, seafood, and sauce.
Consulting chef Kevin Bruntz, who most recently worked at Necter, is taking the lead in designing the menu. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner.
Carol says the restaurant will look very different with a new bar up front and a wall enclosing the kitchen.
"We need something here," says Carol, referring to the Harbor View Road corridor. "We've got Cibo's and Skibo's, unless you want to go into town or all the way to Folly Road, and even then we don't have a steakhouse. We just thought there was a need. And our prices will certainly be better than downtown."