Ousted by road widening, restaurant hopes to recreate historic log cabin feel
Waynesville seafood restaurant Maggie’s Galley will soon be forced to move from its longtime location at the intersection of Howell Mill Road and Russ Avenue to make way for a road-widening project.
The roadwork has been in the planning stages with the N.C. Department of Transportation for years, and while the owner of Maggie’s Galley knew it was coming, it was still hard to accept that it was time to move.
“Obviously, it didn’t feel too good,” said Todd Carrier, the owner of Maggie’s Galley Oyster Bar.
The rustic log cabin that houses the restaurant was moved to its current location many years ago. It is actually a combination of three wood cabins over a century old that were pieced together as one. Before becoming Maggie’s Galley, it was a general store. The restaurant has been leasing the cabin for 20 years.
As for the old cabin’s fate, it will either be sold piece by piece or the owner could decide to move it elsewhere.
“The log is worth too much money just to tear down,” Carrier said.
While the rustic log cabin was certainly part of the restaurant’s appeal, Carrier believes his customer base will follow him to his new location on Sulphur Springs Road near Exit 100 just off the U.S. 23-74 bypass.
“Obviously, they didn’t come to the building to eat just because of the building,” Carrier said. “It’s got to be something else drawing them here. Hopefully, it’s the food.”
The menu features seafood of all varieties, from the standard fair of fried shrimp and catfish to alligator, crawdads and frog legs — not to mention local mountain trout prepared several ways.
Carrier plans to open at the new Sulphur Springs location some time after the New Year.
“It’s not that much farther,” Carrier said. “Everybody said they would follow us where we go.”
Carrier has assured guests that the restaurant will maintain its rustic feel. Carrier owns all the tables, chairs and décor and plans to use them at the new restaurant. He said he is also looking into a product called “Ghost Wood,” which mimics the look of reclaimed or barn wood that would allow Maggie’s Galley to maintain its rustic feel.
With the new building, will come improvements. The old cabin on Howell Mill was difficult to heat and did not have air conditioning. Parking was also limited to two gravel areas in front of the building.
The Sulphur Springs venue will have “more room, more seating, better parking,” Carrier said. And, there will also be separate rooms that can be rented for meetings.
Some homes in the path of the road-widening project have been jacked up off their foundations and moved further back on their lot to make way for the wider road. But in the case of Maggie’s Galley, site constraints — such as power lines and topography — meant repositioning the building on the existing lot wasn’t feasible, Carrier said.
The roadwork will consume about a third of the restaurant building’s footprint as well as good portion of its already limited parking.
Howell Mill road project to begin early next year in Waynesville
A $12.5 million project to add a turn lane, widen the shoulders and straighten out some of the sharper curves on the narrow Howell Mill Road in Waynesville will begin in the first part of 2013.
The project has been in the planning stages for years. Howell Mill, a secondary artery off Waynesville’s main commercial thoroughfare of Russ Avenue, primarily serves as a cut-thru for locals trying to dodge the stop lights and traffic of the lower section of Russ Avenue.
Plans also include sidewalks, a pedestrian amenity the town of Waynesville advocated for. Howell Mill Road leads from Russ Avenue, past the Waynesville Recreation Center and ties in with the Old Asheville Highway.