By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
Main Street Pint and Plate, 182 Main St., had its official ribbon cutting and grand opening on Monday, April 23.
Owners, and husband-and-wife duo, J.R. and Leanne Rusgrove, who also own Parkside Cafe, 95 Maple St., have been working to renovate and ready the building for about five months.
“From the bottom of our heart, thank you. This has been a very, very long five months, we know there’s a lot on the line here with the revitalization of the downtown,” said J.R. Rusgrove. “We love the fact that we’re a part of the nucleus of this brand new beginning.”
Leanne Rusgrove said the aesthetics of the building, brick walls, tin ceilings and hardwood floors, met their needs, and that they fell in love with the location. She thinks this restaurant will reflect what they’re doing in all of their restaurants.
“I think this will compare in that, we have a great staff, we are focusing on attention to detail, great food, and the addition of a great bar. We’re very excited, we know we’re going to be busy, so, just want to make sure everything goes off well without any issues or problems.”
The building, formerly home to Barley Vine, is one of the “remaining architectural gems on Main Street,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. She said the site is something “people acquaint with the old downtown,” and that “people are very nostalgic about what Bristol used to be.”
“I think we kind of need to break that barrier a little bit, and start talking about what Bristol can be. This actually accomplishes both,” said mayor, “it’s restored a building, and it has a new business inside of it. There’s no better combination than that.”
The mayor also said she and Bristol Development Authority director, Justin Malley, were able to dine at Pint and Plate on Saturday, April 21.
“The cuisine was delicious, it was basic, but it was what people are looking for, it wasn’t a menu item that you don’t know what it is. I’m a plain eater, I like to know what I’m eating. I love the presentation and I love being able to sit and be in downtown Bristol.” said Mayor. “It’s been months since Barley Vine closed, to be able to be on Main Street, on a Saturday night, that resonated with me. And, they’ve spent an excess of probably $90,000 of their own money, and to show that kind of personal commitment, to this business and their business plan, speaks volumes to me, which is why the city was more than happy to step up and match a part of that investment.”
Malley explained how the BDA created the Downtown Grant Program, designed to incentivize businesses to invest downtown.
“We know that there’s other options, other places to go in Bristol to run a business. Route 6 traffic counts are off the charts, we have high traffic counts elsewhere,” said Malley. “We recognize that, for downtown at this moment in time, we need to step up and provide a little extra incentive, to put downtown on a level playing field with Route 6 and other areas, so the Downtown Grant was created. We’re able to help businesses, if they put in funds, we can match those funds up to a certain amount, and this is the first example of that in action.”
“It was $60,000 but it went up to $74,000, for the new employment,” said Malley. “They have the ability of up to $74,000, so, there’s $60,000 that’s dedicated for improvements to the interior of the property and then there’s actually $14,000 that was added onto that to account for new, full-time hires, the addition of full-time positions, so that’s part of it, sort of like two-part grant program.”