Restaurant moving from Growing Downtown Dothan

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

A gourmet sandwich restaurant in Dothan is leaving the historic area downtown area.
River Nile will be closing its doors and moving to another location. Cooks in the kitchen of the River Nile Restaurant prepare what is going to be one of many last meals in this building that they've called "home" for the past 5 years.

Owner Katie Hart explains the move, "We had planned on opening a 2nd location, but the past 2 weeks we decided to go ahead and close the downtown Dothan location, because we couldn't afford it anymore, well we're moving to another location, and a bigger one."

Yep, moving. The new location will be at Crepe Myrtle, a newly built office complex on Montgomery Highway. Hart says she understands she'll loose some customers, but others will stay. When asked if she would follow the river Nile down the road, Mary Palo says, "Oh absolutely."

But the question remains, what will happen to downtown Dothan which has recently begun to see a growth spurt?

The executive director in charge of the downtown group says more growth, "With the River Nile leaving downtown, we're just going to work that much harder to welcome another business in that location.”

Building owner Billy Holmes agrees, "Change is inevitable but, uh, we're prepared for change. We're going to give someone the opportunity of I'll take the opportunity myself to put another restaurant in that location.”

Holmes says the restaurant could be another gourmet sandwich shop, or a Cajun restaurant.

Meanwhile, Hart says she took a customer survey to make sure the move was the right one.

"As here, I feel like I'm topped out my sales can't go any higher...I don't feel like I'm growing
Holmes also tells me this is what is called a "turn-key operation”, meaning, whoever rents this building only has to bring the food, and supplies. Everything else, like major appliances, remains once the lease is up.”

That day is November 1.

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