The day could have been just about serving tasty avocado omelets or corned beef hash.
But Jason Serkin wanted more than that: He wanted to share a special day with a special cause.
Serkin opened his Rock Hill Famous Toastery location Wednesday, with a plea to all hungry customers to spare a thought, and plenty of donations, to the Harlan’s Heroes charity. The nonprofit foundation, which began with a Catawba family, aims to raise awareness of childhood cancers, help families and fight for a cure.
Famous Toastery is about family, said Serkin. He should know: He and his wife Michelle own two other locations, in Tega Cay and Indian Land.
“We’ve always wanted to be part of the community,” said Serkin, during the lunch rush. “We want people to be able to enjoy the atmosphere and the food. It already feels like home already after the first day.”
The new Rock Hill location on India Hook Road is on the former site of a Citizens South and a Park Sterling bank. Serkin said the renovation process to turn a bank into a restaurant started in July 2016.
Serkin called it the “perfect location,” and said he always saw it as an eatery. He said he waited to make sure his staff, around 40 workers, was fully trained before opening the doors.
The restaurant is 4,200 square feet, including a patio with several tables. There is room to fit about 150 people inside, and few tables were empty as of noon Wednesday.
“Our motivating factor is a great product,” said Serkin, who trained for a year at the Ballantyne location after moving to South Carolina from New Jersey. “We thought people needed the options in this area. Not a run-of-the-mill, fast-food place, but a community place where people sit with family and friends, and enjoy the time.”
Famous Toastery, open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week, serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. Lunch options range from black bean wraps to a full range of salads to a “Left Coast BLT,” with brie and avocado on whole wheat bread. Customer Karena McCoy says that’s one of her favorites.
“There’s a lot to love about it,” said McCoy. “It’s kind of like a small-town part of the community, how friendly everyone is.”
It already feels like home already after the first day.
Jason Serkin, owner of three local Famous Toastery locations including one in Rock Hill
Her friend, Kelley Smallman, is a photographer who will be taking pictures around Rock Hill to help decorate the new location’s walls. She stuck with her go-to choice of the turkey burger Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve been getting it since I first had it in (the Tega Cay location). It’s the best turkey burger in town,” she said.
Serkin said repeat customers help lock in the family atmosphere. And with a third location, he can continue to grow throughout York County.
“People who come to Tega Cay, to Indian Land, they’ll also come to employees’ baby showers, and we’ve done parties with them,” said Serkin. “It’s family, that’s what it’s really about.”
David Thackham writes a weekly column called Trending in York County, which takes a dive into local eateries, stores and businesses that York County consumers are flocking to right now. Email column idea suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trending in York County: Fast Facts
What: Famous Toastery
Where: 2215 India Hook Road, Rock Hill
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m., 7 days a week