Stone Mountain, GA — The COVID-19 pandemic forced Stone Mountain Public House to close for a full year before reopening with a rebrand and a fresh focus.
The piano bistro on Main Street closed in the early days of the pandemic in March 2020.
“During the closure, we were evaluating our finances and where we were at, and we have a cigar patio out back that was at times out-revenuing the inside with considerably less people,” owner Rory Webb told The Tucker Observer.
So Webb and longtime partner Jeff Carey installed air purifiers, added a members only lounge on the patio and allowed cigar smoking throughout the restaurant. They reopened in March.
“It’s really been very successful for us,” Webb said. “I’m really amazed at the diversity of people who smoke cigars, and we have a wide variety of Black, white, Muslim, Christian, atheist, gay, lesbian, straight. And everybody sitting around smoking cigars and all having a common conversation.”
“It’s really been a great environment,” he added.
Webb and Carey have a history of pivoting the business as the need arises. It opened on James B. Rivers Drive as a non-profit coffeehouse and bar called Café Jaya in 2014. They moved to the Main Street location and switched to a for-profit model in 2016. Then Gilly Brew Bar opened up nearby.
“We were very excited for them and the growth of the community, and most of our business came after four o’clock anyway, so we decided to become more of a bistro than a coffeehouse,” Webb said.
They changed the name to Stone Mountain Public House, opened the cigar patio and became a piano bistro in 2018. And now the latest changes this year.
“We believe you need to constantly evaluate and change and stay relevant to the times,” Webb said.
The menu also changed slightly after this year’s reopening.
“We have a menu that we’ve put together that makes it easy to change it out,” Webb said. “If we have regular customers come in to order something and they don’t reorder it, that’s a sign. So we might remove that from the menu. We monitor what people are liking and not liking.”
Pizza is one of Stone Mountain Public House’s top sellers. They also have pub food and comfort food such as chicken and dumplings.
Webb is excited to see a flurry of new businesses open in Stone Mountain recently.
Health-conscious chicken wing restaurant Drumz N’ Flatz opened on Stone Mountain Freeway and holistic boutique Village Gemz opened on Main Street in April. Bookstore and wine bar The Vibrary and Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen plan to open on Main Street in July. And restaurant-lounge The Mailroom Lounge will open in the fall.
“In Stone Mountain, we don’t really view other businesses as competition,” Webb said. “We look at them as partners. It’s important that this town gets revitalized and comes back.”
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