Depot Restaurant to open in April [with gallery]

Published 1:01 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

Depot Restaurant to open in April

Clay Hall and Rustin Sorensen said they want to preserve the distinguishing architectural features of Florala’s L&N depot, as well as display many of the historical artifacts the depot housed during its recent tenure as a museum.

The two are preparing to open The Depot Restaurant and catering venue later this spring. They leased the facility from the city on Jan. 1. Hall, who grew up in Paxton, currently works for Tom Thumb’s corporate office, but has been helping his cousin, who owns a restaurant in Geneva County, cater for years.

“We actually did all of the catering for Bama Jam,” he said.

Sorensen is a physician’s assistant in Niceville whose in-laws are local. They’ve known each other for 20 years, and had been tossing a restaurant idea around. When the depot idea was presented, it seemed perfect, Hall said.

The front part of the historic depot had an office with four ticket windows opening into separate rooms – a waiting room for men, a waiting room for women, a waiting room for minorities, and a freight office. They’ve cut archways from the old office to create a dining area large enough to seat 80, but are maintaining the ticket windows.

The central part of the building is being renovated as a kitchen, and the rear area – most recently used as a community room – will be an event center. Hall said a bridal suite for wedding parties will be built adjacent to the restrooms, and a bar and other event amenities are being added.

Current plans are for The Depot Restaurant to be open weekdays with lunch specials. The restaurant also will be open several nights a week featuring a full-service menu.

They hope to open in early April. The depot is located at 1109 5th Street, about a block off Hwy. 331.