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Cairo’s newest full-scale restaurant is now in full swing

A landmark building that many locals fondly remember as “the pool room,” has been beautifully renovated into an upscale sit-down eatery. For the past two years, Linda Reagan and her daughter, Vicki Davis, have poured their hearts and souls into creating a restaurant with charm and a large, diverse menu.
Cairo’s newest full scale restaurant, Grits – A Southern Event, is now in full swing after opening its doors to the public at 11:30 a.m. on Monday.  
The workday for Grits restaurant employees begins at 5 a.m. so they can accommodate all of the early risers such as loggers, farmers and forestry industry workers, explained Reagan as she was busy preparing for Monday’s opening.
Diners can choose from a variety of traditional breakfast plates or indulge in French toast, sausage casserole, quiche Lorraine, or a vegetable frittata.
The restaurant will offer authentic southern cuisine, including a blue plate special at lunch. “You can’t cook lunch in the South without cooking southern,” Reagan affirms. The special will include two vegetables, a meat, and homemade cornbread. The sandwich menu is extensive and includes steak, pulled pork, shrimp, fish, tuna, chicken and egg salad, hamburger, turkey and Vicki’s veggie sandwich, among others.
All menu offerings are homemade (made from scratch) says Reagan. Call in orders are welcome and customers can pick up their order at the window.
“At dinner we’re going to do ‘Puttin’ on the Grits’,” Reagan says. The tables will be adorned with table cloths and candles and diners can enjoy a candlelight supper. “We’ll always have hand cut steaks. And we’re going to do a seafood dish, a pasta dish and a pork dish.” Dinner also includes a choice of sides such as  green beans and asparagus.
Co-owners Reagan and Davis strive to prepare food on the “healthier side.”
“When we roast vegetables, we use olive oil or a vegetable oil. When we fry, we use canola oil,” notes Reagan.
For customers who are on the run, the dining room boasts a large deli case with ready made salads, broccoli salad, Georgia corn salad, crunchy pea salad, tuna salad, and two or three kinds of chicken salad.
In the evening, they will offer casseroles, chicken pop pie, chicken tetrazzini, shepherd’s pie, eggplant parmesan and lasagna dishes.
Those who are inclined to indulge in dessert can try one of their homemade delicacies like the signature: buttermilk pie.
Linda Reagan and husband Butch are not new to the restaurant business. They founded “Tomato Land,” a produce stand and “Tomato Land’s Kitchen,” a popular take out restaurant in Tallahassee 28 years ago. The couple, however, never left their home in Grady County and commuted to work while operating the business.
A successful catering operation grew out of Tomato Land’s Kitchen and she was soon preparing food for many different venues in the Tallahassee area.  
“Vicki and I decided we wanted to buy a place up here and do catering, Reagan recalls. “And then we found this building.” She says when the realtor showed her the building, it was the first time she’d ever been in the “pool room.”
“I thought it was a neat old building, it had been here a long time and everybody remembered it,” and its long history of service.
Former proprietor and local businessman Chuck Thomas says the building was a traditional pool room built by his father in 1956. Thomas owned and operated the pool room from 1973 until he entered the insurance business in 1983. Many folks remember world class chili dogs that could be picked up at the window. Thomas says in its heyday, the pool room served an average of 400 chili dogs per day – to a very diverse crowd.
Davis ordered a “pool room” neon sign that will hang in a back window to commemorate the building’s past.
Reagan says the initial plan was to rent the building out and use it as a base for catering. But as they began to refurbish the building, they could see potential for a sit down restaurant in conjunction with a catering service. She estimates the main dining room will seat 88 and on the outside patio another 30-40 patrons.
Diners will appreciate the elaborate woodwork that is a hallmark of the newly renovated building. Reagan says her son-in-law Keith Lacy supplied the wood, trim and moldings and her pastor Mike Nichols and his crew installed the trim.
Grits – A Southern Event – is located at 109 Second Avenue N.E., and is open Monday through  Saturday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call 299-377-0611 to inquire about delivery and catering services or to order for pick up at the restaurant window.

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