Work be­gins on Mys­tic Grill restau­rant

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

As TV’s “The Vam­pire Di­aries” crew re­turned to Cov­ing­ton this week to pre­pare the square for film­ing for the show’s sea­son five pre­miere, a con­struc­tion crew was hard at work turn­ing one of the show’s icons into a real-life restau­rant.

Con­struc­tion started this week on the planned Mys­tic Grill restau­rant, lo­cated next to the His­toric Court­house on Clark Street. The restau­rant is in­spired by the restau­rant and bar of the same name in “The Vam­pire Di­aries.”

“The deal is done; the pa­pers are signed. We have of­fi­cially started con­struc­tion,” said part-owner Angi Beszborn.

She said the restau­rant will prob­a­bly open in Oc­to­ber, based on the cur­rent sched­ule.

Three lo­cal builders, Steve Small­wood, Adam Wil­son and Dennis Young, are over­see­ing con­struc­tion, which be­gan with de­mo­li­tion work in the in­te­rior of the build­ing, as old of­fice space was torn out to make way for a restau­rant.

The build­ing used to house a law of­fice and ac­count­ing firm be­hind the fake TV façade.

Beszborn said Wed­nes­day the work will be slow, as con­struc­tion work­ers will make sure the build­ing is sta­ble fol­low­ing the May 2012 fire that dam­aged it. She said the builders and own­ers will make sure the ren­o­va­tion of the build­ing is done well and cor­rectly.

“We want some­thing uniquely Cov­ing­ton, a place peo­ple can go and take friends and fam­ily to show a lit­tle snap­shot of Cov­ing­ton. The square is a per­fect place to do that,” Beszborn said. “We want it done cor­rectly from the be­gin­ning; that’s why it’s tak­ing so long. We want to make sure ev­ery­body sees us and knows we’re go­ing to be a good ex­am­ple of a busi­ness on the square. All the hoops we have to jump through – this is for the com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple think we will make a for­tune, but it will be a while be­fore we can draw a pay­check. It will be good if we can pay our bills,’’ she said. “We re­ally do have the thought of do­ing this for the com­mu­nity, to give some­thing ex­tra for them.”

Wil­son, who is act­ing as the on-site pro­ject man­ager, said the crew was build­ing a loft area in­side the restau­rant Thurs­day and was pre­par­ing to move into the area that was more dam­aged by fire.

Malco In­te­ri­ors was on-site Thurs­day and owner Kevin Mal­colm said the com­pany would work on fram­ing, dry­wall and paint­ing.

The restau­rant is ex­pected to have a bar on one side – sim­i­lar to the lay­out in the TV show – as well as rooftop din­ing and a base­ment gift shop with “Vam­pire Di­aries” mer­chan­dise; it will seat about 150 din­ers, Beszborn said pre­vi­ously.

The ren­o­va­tion is ex­pected to cost $2.27 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to pa­per­work filed for a state loan.

Gabriel Khouli /The Cov­ing­ton News

Kevin Mal­colm, with Malco In­te­ri­ors, looks over con­struc­tion plans with Adam Wil­son, the on-site pro­ject man­ager, in­side the fu­ture Mys­tic Grill restau­rant.

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