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Roasting Company owner on Oakland Ave. wants to become ‘staple’ in Rock Hill

Rock Hill eatery specializing in rotisserie chicken opens in former Gulf Station

The Roasting Company opened its doors in the former historic Gulf Station on Oakland Avenue this week. The restaurant specializes in rotisserie chicken, vegetables, lunch and dinner specials with a hint of Costa Rican flavor, along with a full bar
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The Roasting Company opened its doors in the former historic Gulf Station on Oakland Avenue this week. The restaurant specializes in rotisserie chicken, vegetables, lunch and dinner specials with a hint of Costa Rican flavor, along with a full bar

It’s safe to say Eyvetta Young has found a new favorite place to spend her working lunches.

And lucky for her, it’s steps away from her job.

“I’ve been here every day this week,” said Young, sitting at the bar at the Roasting Company on Oakland Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. “Today, I had the chicken pot pie, and oh! It ruins my workout routine, but it’s chicken.”

That’s the kind of regular dining atmosphere that Mitch Grant wants to promote with his Rock Hill franchise, located on the site of the former Williams Gulf station at 122 Oakland Ave. Grant’s restaurant is within walking distance of Winthrop University, downtown offices and churches – as well as Young’s “Divine Creation” hair salon.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has said he eats at the Roasting Company regularly before games.

Grant, who opened the restaurant on Monday, says he’s heard plenty of stories about Williams Gulf, where politicians, laborers and families met, gabbed and gossiped.

For more than 60 years, Wade Williams operated the Gulf gas station before it closed in 1992. From 2003 to 2009, David and Debbie Coccia ran The Station restaurant in the same location.

“People come in here all the time and tell me how they sat over in that corner over there ... with Uncle Wade,” said Grant, gesturing in the general direction of where his kitchen sits. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people sat around with a brown bag of liquor and talked about sports and politics and everything. ... Everybody’s thrilled we’re rejuvenating such an old, historic landmark.”

Grant has his own history to share – with the Roasting Company. He worked at the initial Charlotte location more than 20 years ago on Montford Drive. And after another decade in the corporate restaurant world, Grant’s back to help carve out a place for his customers in Rock Hill.

It’s also a boon for his commute: He lives just three minutes from Oakland Avenue with his wife, Kristie, and his three children, Olivia, Thomas and William.

“I’ve been living here for 11 years,” said Grant. “Now I’m finally a part of the community. For the longest time, I was Kristie’s husband. Now I guess I’m Mitch, the chicken guy.”

He’ll wear the badge with honor. The Roasting Company specializes in rotisserie chicken and several offshoots of the dish. A variety of tastes are served using Costa Rican spices and various marinades.

The restaurant also features a full bar that serves craft beer, wine and spirits. The restaurant may appeal to the younger crowd, as well as families: The planned hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Grant says the location was critical to his decision. He sees it as a high-traffic area that fits well with his goal of reaching 3,500 square feet. There’s a small 28-space parking lot on-site with overflow spaces across Oakland Avenue.

The success of nearby eateries, such as Millstone Pizza & Taphouse, Legal Remedy Brewing and Flipside Restaurant, makes Grant excited about Rock Hill’s economic development. And he’d like to be a part of it.

“My goal for this location is to be a staple in the community for years to come,” said Grant. “I think Rock Hill is on the verge of a huge economic development surge, and it’s been like that for years. ... We’re not in the ground floor of that (growth), but we’re in the first or second floor.”

The restaurant offers daily specials, 25 freshly made sides and a full menu that caters to a picky palate.

The Roasting Company app allows online ordering and payment, and Grant said he’s hoping to offer delivery at some point in the near future.

Young said she’s looking forward to trying out more of the specials.

“I thought it was a great location,” she said. “Because it’s right next door (to me).”

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham

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