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Restaurant set to open

Working to blend new flavors with repurposed materials in downtown Farmville, Bill McKay and Maureen Walls-McKay are set to open a restaurant on 119A N. Main St. that promises tacos and more.

The restaurant, “119,” is set to open this fall in the space of the former Clark’s Pharmacy.

Bill McKay had spent 20 years in the restaurant business, and his newest venture is far from his first restaurant rodeo in Farmville.

He previously owned a restaurant called The Grill, which had also operated on Main Street, and had worked in area restaurants The Lighthouse Cafe and Landsharks.

Maureen said she and Bill have gotten frequent requests from friends asking them to open a new restaurant.

“People wouldn’t leave me alone about it,” Bill joked.

“His past customers have been very comforting and encouraging,” Maureen said.

Though tacos will be an option on the menu, Maureen said customers should expect everything from $2.50 tacos to a $20 full dinner.

Bill believes 15-20 people will be employed to work at the restaurant.

The two said they hope to reach a wide demographic, from Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College students to town residents, High Bridge Trail State Park visitors and the after-church crowd.

“We hope to welcome everyone in terms of price, quality and service,” Maureen said.

The tagline for the restaurant, she said, is “Tastefully Off Center.”

Bill describes the tex-mex and southwestern types of dishes expected to be served at the restaurant as eclectic.

The two said they plan to work to use as many fresh and local ingredients as possible. The restaurant will have a full bar, including tequila.

Bill said he will often head to Charlottesville for a good meal and said he hopes with “119” and other restaurants set to open in the area, the establishments will not only attract people from out of town, but meet needs for people who live in the area.

“Now with so many (restaurants) opening up, maybe people will start coming here as a dining destination,” he said.

Though the food is set to be original, Bill said the location reclaims portions of the town’s history.

When Newman Tire Company closed, Maureen said the owner gave the two permission to take the letters used to make the tire company sign. Those letters will be used to create a sign that reads, “Eat More Tacos.”

A wooden bench that will line the wall was built from wooden planks that had originally been a layer of the ceiling at the Main Street location.

Bill said the building had been the former site of a pharmacy for 29 years, along with a florist and a barber shop.

He said due to using the materials already in the space, he believes he has spent less than he would have if he had bought all new supplies.

Maureen said her husband has been at the helm for construction with the help of good friends. Because of their desire to make sure construction is done properly, they don’t have an exact opening date.

“We don’t want to rush it,” Maureen said.

She said they’ve gotten members of the community involved with the project, even having Facebook friends choose the ceiling color. She also said they have regular visitors come to the site and ask about its progress. Maureen said the restaurant’s vibrant nature of food and the wide demographic they hope to reach will benefit the Farmville area.

“Everyone will thrive,” she said.

Bill will attend the Wine and Brew event at Longwood Center for the Visual Arts on Sept. 22 to offer information about the restaurant. After the event, tours of the space will be offered.