After 17 years of building a restaurant empire in Greenville, the Rick Erwin Dining Group celebrated the opening of its eighth restaurant, The Vista, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.
The casual dining neighborhood restaurant, which is named after Greenville’s historic Alta Vista neighborhood, is located at 2017 Augusta St. and is a unique concept compared to the other Rick Erwin locations — from the interior and exterior to the menu. It opened three weeks ago after only a few weeks of construction.
“It was already a beautiful restaurant,” said Michael Ivey, partner in Rick Erwin Dining Group.
Rick Erwin, namesake of the group said, “We are always trying to grow our restaurants. We don’t have a number in mind we are trying to achieve, but what we are trying to achieve is surrounding ourselves with great talent and providing a high-end product at the end of the day. We have a good reputation in the community to be able to provide that experience. This is the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. After three weeks, and the feedback we have received from customers, it’s off to a tremendous start.”
They love the opportunity to design new restaurants, said Ivey, but this one was a little different — and special — because it represents the neighborhood Erwin and Ivey both reside in.
“It’s a fun experience,” he said. “We both live in this neighborhood, and we knew coming into it we would know a lot of the people coming in to dine with us, like a true neighborhood establishment.”
Although this is the eighth Rick Erwin restaurant to open in Greenville, only five are currently operating. Saltwater Kitchen at Haywood Mall closed earlier this month, and after 12 years of operation, Rick Erwin’s Nantucket Seafood is relocating from its Main@Broad location since February. Rick Erwin’s first restaurant, which is still in business, was West End Grille.
“We have sticks in the fire,” Erwin said, when asked if there are more plans in the work for additional restaurants. “Stay tuned.”
Right now, their focus is to find real estate to relocate Nantucket’s Seafood, said Erwin, but there have been some challenges, especially construction costs.
“This is not the time to build a new restaurant, we know that,” he added.
Ivey said after the pandemic the company realized they may have to change the way they grow, which is why The Vista was created in a former restaurant space requiring minimal construction or renovation.
“We have grown to that point with only new builds,” he added. “This may be a quicker vehicle for growth moving forward for us.”
It’s critical that they relocate Nantucket’s Seafood in downtown Greenville, though, said Ivey.
“We want to keep it where people know to look for it, and that’s been part of the challenge,” he added.
The opening ceremony was conducted by the Greenville Chamber.
“Our vision is to be a globally competitive Upstate economy where businesses succeed,” the chamber’s Elvia Pacheco said. “We do this through our mission, which is to lead, convene, and mobilize the business community to drive regional economic growth.”