UNION — Business owners Billy Graham and Jeff Mcbrayer are optimistic about what their new restaurant — County Line Steak and Seafood Company — can bring to several communities in both Newberry and Union counties.
The building, which used to be known as the Whitmire Truck Stop, is located on U.S. 121, immediately after the Newberry/Union county line — hence the name County Line restaurant, Graham said.
“We wanted it to be more than just a truck stop,” Graham said.
Together, Graham said he and Mcbrayer own a business in Columbia where they buy and sell used restaurant equipment. They purchased the building in Union County in May and began to renovate.
Graham, a Whitmire native, finished high school in 1964, then went on to attend the University of South Carolina where he graduated in 1969. For a few years Graham was a naval officer before coming back to the area.
Mcbrayer has a history in the restaurant business having had three restaurants in New Orleans for many years. Originally from Asheville, N.C., Mcbrayer said he remained in New Orleans until after Hurricane Katrina hit. Mcbrayer was also in the Army which he said let him to Columbia where he decided to stay.
“It wasn’t as cold as the mountains,” Mcbrayer said.
Serving country cooking as well as steak and seafood, Graham said their restaurant is centrally located within the three communities of Union, Whitmire and Newberry.
Anything from hamburger steaks to roasted chicken and barbecue can be found at County Line Steak and Seafood Company, Graham said. “We make our own barbecue here,” he said.
With six to eight people on staff including waitresses and cooks, Graham said the facility is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a buffet on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The restaurant will remain open Sundays until 7 p.m.
Graham said they will also be providing a delivery service to the Whitmire area. The delivery number is 803-924-9551.
Mcbrayer said they will have several specialty nights at the restaurant including Mexican nights on Wednesdays, all you can eat spaghetti on Thursday evenings, a fish fry (as well as full menu) on Friday evenings and steak night on Saturdays.
Along with the County Line restaurant, Mcbrayer and Graham are also working with Pearl Kinard and Lisa and Jerry Whitlock for Pearl’s and Lisa’s located on Main Street in Whitmire.
After school lets out each afternoon in Whitmire, Graham said they will host “Fifth Quarter” from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Pearl’s which will be a place for teens to enjoy.
Graham said Kinard and the Whitlocks have been in the restaurant business for 35 years in Whitmire and they’re looking forward to the partnership.
“Those, along with the County Line, gives Whitmire full food service seven days a week,” Graham said.
Graham said they were heavily involved with Whitmire Community School in providing any type of food support that they may need from band to football. He said they also have mobile units for food service.
Maria Mcmurtury, member of Whitmire’s Economic Development Board, believes this is a big step for Whitmire from an economic standpoint.
“I believe once people from the surrounding communities try the steaks and seafood and specialty options they will feel it is worth the drive to come to Whitmire,” Mcmurtury said.
While in Whitmire, Mcmurtury said visitors could also enjoy other amenities the town has to offer including their new volleyball facility and public golf course.
“The citizens of Whitmire have been begging for more options for eating and recreation and I now see Whitmire is well on its way to fulfill these needs. I am looking forward to working with Mr. Graham in the future,” Mcmurtury said.
Mayor Billy Hollingsworth said the building that now houses County Line Steak and Seafood Company has been closed for a while and he is glad to see it open.
“Even though in Union County, this has always been considered a part of Whitmire,” Hollingsworth said.