With a population just short of 4,000 residents, and a compact downtown, Williamston’s restaurant industry has decided to make the most of the available space.
“Williamston is almost oversaturated with amazing restaurants,” manager of Gracie’s Contemporary Bistro, Emily Brennan said. “Williamston citizens don’t have to leave their city for good food or a great experience, which makes Williamston unique as a small town.”
Brennan said the restaurant thrives off regulars, and more specifically from the Williamston Theatre patrons, creating a crowd for the bistro when the theatre is featuring a movie or play. Being such a small town, employees within the restaurant industry understand the importance of outstanding customer service and pleasing the regulars.
“My staff understands that if you don’t give the highest quality service, every time, that our patrons can go on to another restaurant and possibly find that,” Brennan said. “Relationships and retention are everything.”
According to Brennan, the importance of having a variety of restaurants stems from the fact that each restaurant is particularly good at cooking their own specific dish. Owner of Williamston Pub and Grill, Leigh Baumgeras, also said this keeps residents from over-eating at a specific restaurant and quickly getting bored of what’s available in Williamston.
“I rarely go outside of Williamston if I’m going out to dinner,” Williamston resident, Maddie Bunting said. “There are so many different options, and there is seriously something for everyone. From bar and grub food at Spag’s to fine dining at The Riverhouse Inn you never get tired of one specific restaurant because you have so many to filter through.”
Many of the restaurants not only provide an exclusive menu for the residents of Williamston, but they take the time to give back to their community and support their public schools.
“We try to stay very close knit with our community,” Baumgeras said. “We hold banquets and sponsor our local sports teams. We also do catering for booster, such as the football booster, so yeah, I would say we are a pretty big part of our community.”
While there are multiple pubs and bars located in Williamston, such as Spag’s Bar and Grill, Tavern 109 and Old Nation Brewery, the bar scene is much different than surrounding cities.
According to Baumgeras, the restaurant scene of Williamston overpowers that of the bar scene, due to the fact that within a two mile radius there is something for everyone’s personal preference. Most of the restaurants don’t hold a very large late night crowd, and Williamston Pub and Grill is one of the only restaurants to stay open until 2 a.m.