A Gretna staple restaurant is set to make a new home in Chatham.
J.T.'s at the Lavalette, open since 2011, has migrated to Chatham's Main Street, taking over a cheery yellow building in the town's corporate limits to become J&T's on the Main, named for owner and chef John Turner and son Travis.
"Chatham has been starving for a good upper-scale restaurant for a long time," Turner said.
Only the finishing touches remain, Turner says – wiring the speakers for background music, logos on the façade and a final inspection.
"I'd open tomorrow if I could," Turner said. "I'd be open now if it wasn't for the pandemic."
The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the restaurant's opening, with important players like Pepsi pushing operations weeks into the future.
"I just want to get open so I can keep my staff and keep my people working," Turner added.
Turner says the new restaurant is an upgrade compared to the restaurant's pioneer location, describing the interior as "beautiful" and "fantastic." Art lines the brick walls and chandeliers illuminate the hardwood flooring.
"I’ve been doing this for a long time," Turner said. "We're good at it, we put out a great product. We'll give them good service and we have a nice place."
Turner is looking forward to a fresh start, he said.
As far as the menu, you can't go wrong with the tried and true favorites.
"We're gonna stick with our menu, it was a winner," Turner said. "All the steaks, seafood, pastas and pork. We cover all the bases and we only sell the best. We don't buy cheap stuff. We want everyone to have a good dining experience."
Turner says that as he gets older, the future of the business is becoming more clear, and alluded to the new name of the restaurant.
"My son, Travis, he's come a long way in this business and has learned it from the ground up with me," Turner said. "Hopefully he will, in a couple years, take it over."