It's always exciting when a new restaurant opens in town - especially a restaurant that everyone in the family can enjoy - and it's not part of a chain.
The latest new place in this area is Afton Tavern. If you have not visited it yet, you don't know what you are missing.
Proprietor Lindsey Schumacher, explained how Afton Tavern came about:
"I wasn't sure which direction I was going to go with my career, when I heard that Max's Ally (restaurant) closed down in this location," she said. "I loved the building, the outside dining area and the location, so I started looking into leasing the location and buying the equipment. Things happened very quickly, and I signed the lease at the end of September."
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Schumacher moved to North Carolina to attend Brevard College and later UNCChapel Hill. Although she has never owned a restaurant before, she has a lot of experience working at Ham's Restaurant.
"I started working for Ham's Restaurants when I was in school at Chapel Hill," she said. "After graduating, I became an assistant manager for the Ham's in Salisbury. After two years, I became a general manager, then a regional manager, then the vice president in charge of operations for Ham's.
"I worked for Ham's for almost 25 years," she said, "and I opened around 20 restaurants with them."
Now she is the sole owner of Afton Tavern, and business has been booming since it opened.
"Our opening day was Nov. 9. Things have been going fantastic ... ," she said. "The staff has done a phenomenal job, and our guests have been extremely receptive to our menu and concept."
Besides being a restaurant entrepreneur, Schumacher is also a mother of four children ages 5 to 22. She's also active in the PTSO and in YMCA sports in Concord. That's why she designated Mondays as Kids Eat Free Night and Tuesdays as Teacher Discount Night.
"We try to create a family atmosphere in the restaurant. We feel like the better we take care of the staff, the better they will take care of the guests," Schumacher said. "This is one thing that I think makes Afton Tavern different from other restaurants in the area."
The restaurant offers special deals on other nights, too. For instance, at 6 p.m. Sundays it's Movie Night. Patrons can enjoy dinner while watching a family movie on the restaurant's 100-inch video screen. You can even vote for what movie you want to watch on the restaurant's Facebook page (go to the restaurant's website and click on the Facebook link).
"I feel like our restaurant has the best of both worlds: The staff is well-trained and we have good procedures in place, like corporate restaurants; but we make all of our items fresh to order, like many family-owned restaurants," Schumacher said.
Afton Tavern is at 355 John Galt Way in Afton Village. For information visit www.aftontavern.com.