By JAY LAMM | editor@WSJ30.com
The secret is out.
Youngsville businessman Matthew Winslow bought the old Griffin’s restaurant building and plans to turn it into a showplace for Youngsville’s up-and-coming downtown.
After years as a Youngsville mainstay, Griffin’s was forced to sell due to the economic problems that came with the Coronavirus shutdowns. The once busy gathering place for Youngsville’s long-time residents, invading new families and more famously — local gossip mongers — couldn’t hold out any longer, serving its last meal on Oct. 16.
Winslow, who was in the midst of a political campaign, wanted to keep the purchase secret until after the election.
“I didn’t want the news out. With the campaign wrapping up and other projects on my plate, I felt I wouldn’t have time to field questions or calls on the new project until after Election Day,” he said.
Winslow won his District 7 state House seat, representing Nash and Franklin counties, and after a week of family time, he decided to go public with the purchase.
The building and .32 acre lot listed for $265,000.
“I bought the property and have plans to renovate the building. Keeping a restaurant downstairs and putting two luxury apartments upstairs,” he said.
Winslow hopes his project will help liven up Youngsville’s nightlife.
“I was in talks with someone to put an upscale, destination-type restaurant in the building, but those plans fell through. But I have others interested in the spot,” said the contractor.
“I’m going to start working on the façade of the building and the apartments upstairs. I’ll wait to see what restaurant agrees to go downstairs, then I will build to suit its needs,” he added.
The apartments will be two bedrooms and two baths, with about 1,000 square feet of space each. The entrance to the apartments will be to the right of the front of the building, recessed into an alcove.
The parking lot will be paved and the mural that is on the side of the building will remain.
“Yes, the mural will stay,” said the new property owner, with a chuckle.
Winslow said he hopes for an upscale restaurant, like one in the same class as the new Rustic Roots in Bunn, to take the space, but is not ruling out a breakfast, lunch and dinner eatery.
“The type of restaurant will be up to who agrees to take the space,” he said.
Winslow already owns property on Main Street in Youngsville. He renovated the old Woodlief Hardware building into office space for Winslow Custom Homes in 2018.
He plans to start work on the Griffin’s building the first of 2021 and have a restaurant in place by late spring.
“It’s going to be a busy year,” he said.