Created on Saturday, 27 April 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
The scent that started wafting through downtown Bellefontaine Friday morning won’t be going away anytime soon.
This unique column, designed by Deb and Mike Roberts with an original artwork by local artist, Nathanael Alexander, depicts a young boy fishing, one of 2Gs owner George Hunter’s favorite leisurely pastimes. The fishshaped stone about to take the bait was found in the Mad River, Mrs. Roberts said.
It is the savory aroma of ribs, brisket and pulled pork smoking behind downtown’s newest restaurant at 116 N. Main St.
Although 2Gs, which formerly was located in the Hyland Hills Plaza, has changed its location and logo, the driving force behind the business still remains focused on owners George and Vanessa Hunter’s faith in God.
“That’s why we’re here — the big G,” Mrs. Hunter said. “We believe in miracles and that’s what brought us here.”
The “big G” is the couple’s reference to the Heavenly Father and was the starting point for their original name 2 G/g’s. The “little g” is George whose love for barbecue drove the restaurant through its first 21⁄2 years of operation.
But the community identified it simply as 2Gs and the name stuck as the couple decided to make the move downtown.
“It still says the same thing to us and it still draws attention to us,” Mrs. Hunter said.
The decision to move was driven largely by exposure, which was not ideal in the previous location.
“That first year, we were really rolling, but eventually it became out of sight, out of mind,” Mr. Hunter said. “The location was not enough to be noticed by the community.”
“We were nigh onto folding but then God presented us with this opportunity,” Mrs. Hunter said.
It was not long after Black Tie Catering closed its downtown café at the end of 2012 that individuals, including developer Jason Duff, Don’s Downtown Diner owner Keith Hardwick and the property owner Wayne Cooper, began approaching the Hunters about filling the void left in the downtown restaurant scene.
“When we came over here, this was George’s dream to have something on Main Street,” Mrs. Hunter said. “And we’ve had to turn over stones and layers like our own Canaan Land.”
“We as a family asked God if this is the place downtown, let this be the place,” Mr. Hunter said. “When we talked to the owner of this building, he had had food at my place and he had his own idea that our food would go with the atmosphere downtown.”
With some difficulties with the fire suppression system and other details of getting prepared for business, the couple received help from their church family at Christ Our King Church, especially Deb and Mike Roberts and their sons A.J. and Caleb.
“We had some amazing people come down here and help us,” Mr. Hunter said, referencing the Roberts. “We call (the sons) the Right Brothers because they do everything right. We are so proud of everyone who helped us out.”
And despite the setbacks, which pushed their planned opening back several weeks, the restaurant began serving patrons at noon Friday.
And the food will be mostly the same as the previous menu with a few additions.
LEFT: Owner Vanessa Hunter, center, and servers Kelly Porter, left, and Vickie Queen review the menu at 2Gs before opening Friday morning. RIGHT: Vanessa Hunter speaks with her brother Blake Kenner and Bonnie Shields during lunch service Friday, the first day of operation at 2Gs new downtown Bellefontaine location. FRONT PAGE: George Hunter turns ribs in the smoker Friday behind the new 2Gs restaurant in downtown Bellefontaine. EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES
Aside from the staple ribs, baked chicken and comfort food sides, such as cornbread, macaroni and cheese and collard greens, the restaurant offers fried or baked catfish, tiger shrimp and the chef and his team will now smoke their own brisket and pulled pork.
But the menu will also include lighter fare for those seeking a healthy lunch in a “peaceful environment,” Mrs. Hunter said.
“We are bringing our same flavor here, but we want to put an emphasis on our salads. We want to reach everyone. You can eat heavy or you can eat light here.”
They will also offer fountain drinks instead of canned beverages, she said.
And they will continue to offer a selection of homemade desserts such as sweet potato pie, which was on the menu Friday.
As part of the move, the restaurant has hired five employees, including two servers and three cooks, instead of being solely a “mom and pop” operation.
“We have great and positive expectations for this place and we’re here to stay,” Mr. Hunter said.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but will be closed on Sunday