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Local Gastropub in Overton Square will have two distinct atmospheres upstairs and down

Jeff Johnson, owner of Local Gastropub, planned on bringing the feel of his original Downtown location to his new Overton Square restaurant.

However, having a blank slate to work with meant the plan would change.

Johnson hired Graham Reese with Graham Reese Design Group to completely redesign the two-story Midtown space which used to house Yosemite Sam’s.

“There are a lot of design elements here that we want to retroactively implement Downtown,” Johnson says.

The 100-year-old building has exposed brick and wood ceilings, but the upstairs floor had been stripped down to the plywood. Reese picked vintage maple from Vermont for new flooring.

“Everybody thinks it’s pre-existing,” Johnson says.

Local’s upstairs will have a wood bar, warm lighting, lounge seating and Oriental rugs with views overlooking the corner of Madison and Cooper.

“The idea is downstairs is heavy bar and then up here it’s a softer cocktail lounge with seating, fireplaces, but still some dining,” Reese says. “The emphasis is for a little more relaxed atmosphere up here.”

The Midtown location will have 229 seats with a two-story patio. That’s at least 100 seats larger than the Downtown location at 95 S. Main St.

In early January, Johnson could close the Downtown location for a few days to make it look more like the Midtown location with new fixtures, seat coverings and a few other changes.

Memphis contractor Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is building the Midtown space out and the restaurant should have a soft opening this month.

“We’re not going to tell anybody, we’re going to just open the doors,” Johnson says.

applebee’s franchisee eyes regional stores

The Memphis-area Applebee’s franchisee is opening new locations on Sycamore View Road and in Covington, Tenn., bringing his total to 19 stores in the Mid-South.

Apple Investor Group LLC, led by managing member Andy Patel, closed on a 1.1-acre outparcel site in front of the Covington Wal-Mart. He’s planning a 5,000-square-foot store at Lanny Bridges Road and Highway 51 which could open next year. Patel has also signed a lease for a 5,460-square-foot Applebee’s at 1571 Sycamore View, taking a former Perkins restaurant space. The project has been delayed by a fire, but will open Dec. 1.

“Our plan is to go to smaller communities in the Memphis area,” he says.

Patel is also planning stores for Jackson, Tenn. and Jonesboro, Ark.

He also recently opened a 4,540-square-foot location in Millington at 8472 New Wilkinsville Road.

Laura Trezevant, president of Trezevant Commercial Brokerage Inc., has been representing Apple Investor Group locally. The group purchased a 70-county market from Applebee’s parent company DineEquity Inc. (NYSE: DIN) for $23 million earlier this year.

Cafe Eclectic files permit at the stratum

Cafe Eclectic is considering a third location near the University of Memphis.

The local coffee shop could take space at the Stratum on Highland, an apartment property at 510 S. Highland Ave.

The company filed a $90,750 building permit to improve the space, which is owned by McKinney Properties.

Calls to Cathy Boulden, Cafe Eclectic’s founder, were not returned.

Its first store is in Midtown. In 2010, it opened a location in Harbor Town in the Downtown submarket.

Local Gastropub Restaurant and bar Founded: 2009 Owner: Jeff Johnson Midtown address: 2126 Madison Ave. Phone: (901) 473-9573 Website: www.