Jennifer Keel of Two Chicks Stripping paints the wall Tuesday of what will soon become Cafe 230 L.C. Just that morning, B.J. Fletcher, owner of an Albany restaurant by the same name, signed a contract for the establishment. It is expected to open in the next month in the Winn Dixie shopping center on U.S. 19 South in Lee County.
LEESBURG -- Taking in the success of her venture in downtown Albany, entrepreneur B.J. Fletcher has decided to expand her reach into Lee County.
Fletcher signed a contract Tuesday to open Cafe 230 L.C. in the Winn-Dixie shopping center on U.S. Highway 19 South in the spot that used to occupy Strollins Burgers and BBQ next to Rice Bowl Buffet.
It is the same shopping plaza in which Riverfront 2 Bar-B-Q and Catfish is set to open in the coming weeks.
"Lee County is our neighbor," Fletcher said of the motivation to close the deal. "We have to take care of them.
"I thought about, and prayed about it. I feel real good about this."
The deal was closed with the help of Mary Carter from Murray Webb and Associates, and has come together over the course of a just a few days.
Fletcher, who is coming up on the two-year anniversary of opening the Cafe 230 in Albany, is investing roughly $40,000-$50,000 in the new facility -- which will seat 80-100 people.
The Lee County location, which is expected to be open in the next month, will be in operation seven days a week from 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Equipment has been ordered for the establishment, including a pizza maker.
The restaurant will be similar to the Albany location in terms of cuisine, including the Sunday buffet, but with some higher-end items unique to a dinner menu.
"I'd like to showcase things, but you can't at lunch," Fletcher said.
The night menu is expected to include items such as fresh crabcakes and salmon. Lunch will be served through 3:30 p.m., and dinner will run from 4 p.m. through closing. There is a separate room that will be used for To-Go Express, and the kitchen is set up so that customers will be able to see from the outside.
"My background is at Waffle House, and you are never outshined by cooking in front of people," Fletcher said.
Fletcher added that she is now in contact with health inspectors as well as building inspectors, and is currently reaching out to Albany Technical College to bring in interns to the facility so that they can get some firsthand experience in a restaurant setting.
"I want to let them see what they (restaurant workers) are going through," she said. "We would love to teach some people."
Fletcher also said she would be pushing catering services at the restaurant, and would be reaching out to Strive 2 Thrive as well as ex-offenders for possible employees.
"I've had ex-offenders working with me for 10 years, and they are tremendous people," she said. "They just need a break."
The establishment will soon be hiring for 30 new positions. None of the employees will be pulled from the original Cafe 230 location.
Just before the opening of the new location, Fletcher said she is planning to conduct a two-year anniversary event in downtown Albany in which she will showcase food from the restaurant.
The date of that event has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, another one of Fletcher's businesses, Ole Times Country Buffet on Dawson Road -- also known as BJ's Country Buffet -- has been closing at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays to do electrical and insulation repair work that could not otherwise be done during the day.
The repairs are expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks. Business continues to be good at the Dawson Road establishment, Fletcher said.