The owners of the downtown Mellow Mushroom have been scouting a new location in Avondale since January, and this morning Johnny Hudgins, Joshua Broome, and Michael Shem-Tov inked a lease at the old Consigning Women space in the popular West Ashley triangle area.
Before its tenure as a consignment shop, the building served as the old West Ashley Theater, and Hudgins tells us that they'll be renovating the space to capitalize on its dramatic interior. "We're going to do everything we can to maintain and enhance the intrinsic dramatic qualities that come with occupying a theatre. We're inspired by what Urban Outfitters did at the old Garden Theatre (on King Street), and hope we can come within an iota of what they created."
To that end, the owners are working with Seiber Design out of Atlanta to renovate the space. "We interviewed a lot of local architects," says Hudgins, "but at the end of the day, we wanted someone who primarily focuses on restaurants and could take what we've learned from our experience. They've done work with the Houston's chain, and we feel very confident in them."
The two-story space will be transformed into a full-service Mellow Mushroom with 200 seats and a 25-seat bar. "The second story balcony will have upper box tables that will overlook the 'theatre' space below."
Patrons can expect the same Mellow atmosphere as the downtown space in a building that's not 150 years old. "It will be more contemporary, more modern design," says Hudgins.
The downtown Mellow crew (which does not operate the Mt. Pleasant location) is convinced that this is the right neighborhood for their expansion. "We've been coming to Al di La for years and hanging out in the area. It's relaxed, fun, and funky with tremendous opportunities. We're thrilled to be part of the continued success of the area." And while they recognize that parking can be a challenge for the small commercial district, Hudgins points out that it's a whole lot better than the situation they're faced with downtown.
They expect to begin renovations immediately and be open by late Winter 2011.