Urban Cookhouse to open in Irmo before Columbia

There’s good news for those eagerly awaiting the opening of Columbia’s first Urban Cookhouse restaurant. A new one will be opening first in the nearby community of Irmo.

A new eatery is moving into the former Atlanta Bread. (photo by Rachel Ham)

A new Urban Cookhouse restaurant will take over this former Atlanta Bread location in Irmo. (Photo by Rachel Ham)

Urban Cookhouse is coming to Lake Murray Boulevard in Irmo this summer, said Will Gillespie, the restaurant chain’s owner and president. The new restaurant in Irmo will take over space previously occupied by an Atlanta Bread Company franchise.

Urban Cookhouse combines elements of fast-casual dining with farm-to-table menu items to offer diners healthy, locally sourced meal options, Gillespie said.

After successfully operating Zoe’s Kitchen locations in South Carolina, Gillespie became the owner of Urban Cookhouse in 2012 and moved the company’s headquarters from Alabama to Columbia.

Those headquarters are just down the block on Devine Street from the site of the chain’s future Columbia location on Devine Street.

“We are proud to be based in Columbia,” said Gillespie, a native of Forest Acres.

The Columbia location was announced last fall, and Gillespie said things simply fell into place to start work on a second restaurant in the area. Because the restaurant on Devine Street is being constructed from the ground up, it won’t open until the fall, while the Irmo restaurant is on pace to begin serving customers this summer.

The goal is to have five or six Urban Cookhouse restaurants in the greater Columbia area, Gillespie said.

The chain also will expand into Nashville and Charleston in the coming months, with plans calling for the hiring of about 200 new employees across the company during that time, he said.

Urban Cookhouse’s menu features sandwiches, wraps, salads and hot dishes like pasta and grilled chicken. Also on the menu – vegetables grown right in the community, which falls in line with the company’s mission to buy in-season produce from regional farms, Gillespie said.

“We truly make everything from scratch and made-to-order,” he said.

Urban Cookhouse also supports small businesses and artists by displaying small items like homemade jams and jellies that people can peruse while they wait in line. They may even see their kid’s artwork hanging on the wall.

“We’re supporting every one we can,” Gillespie said.

Urban Cookhouse also will host a farmers’ market for eight weeks during the summer.

Interested in working at Urban Cookhouse? Find details online here.


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