MOUNT VERNON — It was a fixture on the Square at the corner of West High Street for decades, “an icon of Mount Vernon” according to the new owner, the refurbished High Restaurant reopened under new management Monday. Patrons are already finding their favorite booth or counter stools to try the breakfast and lunch fair.
Only a sign in the window had announced that the restaurant would open Monday, but by 6:15 a.m., the restaurant was full, said Manager Doug French.
The owners, Jennifer and Korby Bricker, who also own Knox Machine and Tool, bought the building a couple years ago and have been remodeling and restoring the upstairs area.
“We started cleaning up and refurbishing the restaurant in February and it’s taken 11 months,” Mrs. Bricker said.
“We had a ‘soft’ opening Monday,” said French. “We’ll work out the bugs and have a grand opening after the first of the year.”
The restoration was a major job, Mrs. Bricker said. First, they removed the dropped ceiling and the 70s-era decor. Then they went to work repairing the tin ceiling, a task which Mrs. Bricker estimated her husband had 400 hours in.
The floor has been cleared down to the original Mosaic tile, the stainless steel shelves and other fixtures were removed and steam-cleaned so they look new, and the grill, which had been at the front of the restaurant, was moved into the kitchen and proper ventilation installed.
Retro booths were put in, wooden ceiling fans evoke an earlier era and new light fixtures enhance the old metal ceiling.
“We wanted to recreate an authentic Greek-American diner,” Mrs. Bricker said. The restaurant was originally opened in 1938 by Chris Rezo. His nephew and his wife, Nick and Nora Rezo, took over in the 1950s and ran it until Nick died about 1976.
The restaurant was then run by Jimmy “The Greek” Harrison into the 1980s, when Glen and Lisa Goodwin took it over. The last owner was Wayne Wolfe.
The building was constructed in 1908. A picture of it taken in 1914, hangs on one wall of the restaurant.
The Brickers have owned the building for about two years and didn’t plan to get into the restaurant business. They’ve been restoring the apartments on the second floor as well as the stairwell and were getting ready to start on the third floor when the restaurant closed and they decided it needed to be renovated before a new tenant was located.
“It turned out to be easier to gut the restaurant than to clean it up,” Mrs. Bricker said.
And when they were finished, she said, they didn’t want to lease it, and decided to open the restaurant themselves.
The restaurant is currently open for breakfast and lunch from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We hope to move into evenings eventually,” Mrs. Bricker says.
The menu features omelets and other breakfast dishes, and sandwiches, Greek salads and gyros.
A deli will be located at the front of he restaurant with a “build your own sandwich” feature. You specify the type of bread, meat, cheese and condiments you want, and they’re build the sandwich to your order.
“Things aren’t elaborate yet,” French said, “We’re letting peopple tell us what they want.”