Building Boom?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2006

Graystone Restaurant has long been a part of the Selma vernacular.

Built in the early 1950s, the Highland Avenue eatery serves an eclectic menu of All-American surf and turf favorites, southern soul dishes and hearty Italian specialties. But where diners choose to consume these dishes has changed a bit.

Graystone faithful and passing motorists may have noticed the building is in the finishing touches of its expansion project. A second dining area – which seats an extra 50 people – has been added to the restaurant, bringing the building’s total seating capacity to 155.

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For those who prefer to dine outdoors, a patio area has been erected. Once the expansion is completed, a portion of the patio area will be covered and outfitted with ceiling fans. The tables stationed outdoors sit under large, colorful umbrellas.

“It’s an old building and we thought it could be made into something beautiful,” said Graystone manager Jennifer Blozik.

Last fall, Graystone owner Rafael Garcia decided to develop his restaurant to target Selma’s young and grown-up business crowd.

Equipped with a new bar, a flat screen TV and two additional televisions hovering over newly-upholstered and spacious dining booths, Garcia hopes Graystone will draw in those who want to “have a beer and relax” after a long day at the office.

“We’re going to have live entertainment on Fridays and it’s going to be acoustic,” Garcia said.

When live entertainment is unavailable, there will be “good music,” Garcia added. “We’re going to have everything from country to contemporary.”

Added Blozik, “This is what the people of Selma said they wanted and this is what we’re giving them. We’ve had overwhelming support and we definitely want to thank Selma for that. Selma’s been good to us. I really can’t complain honestly.”

Blozik said while Graystone has not thrown a grand opening for its expansion project, the area is open for business and may be rented out for private parties, birthdays and wedding rehearsal dinners. For more information, call (334) 874-6383.

Other Business Expansions

On the corner of Broad Street and Highland Avenue, contractors are building a Walgreen’s Pharmacy, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain.

With a mission “to offer customers the best drugstore service in America,” Walgreen’s raked in $42.2 billion in sales in its last fiscal year and opened 435 stores.

With 52 stores throughout Alabama, Walgreen’s has 5,294 stores nationwide and plans to open an additional 475 stores during the 2006 fiscal year.

According to a red and white sign outside the construction site, Walgreen’s is “coming soon” to the Queen City. Attempts to reach a contractor or Walgreen’s corporate representative concerning the drug store’s grand opening date were unsuccessful.

A construction site along Medical Center Parkway near Gary Mayton Motors is the future office of Selma pediatrician Patricia Robinson, who is currently practicing in the Good Samaritan hospital building.

“There will be some other things in (the building),” said Centre for Commerce Executive Director Claire Twardy, referring to a drug store and two additional office spaces.