● Published by J. Chambless
By Steven Hoffman
When restaurateur John McGlothlin set out to open a second Sawmill Grill location, this one in Kennett Square, he had a recipe for success to guide him. His Sawmill Grill in Oxford has been enormously popular, attracting a loyal following by offering good food and great times at affordable prices.
McGlothlin said during an interview in October that he is following a similar plan for the new location at the corner of Birch and Broad streets in Kennett Square.
“We're following the model that we have in Oxford—where the town just supports us amazingly well,” McGlothlin said. “We give back to the community in Oxford. We want to get ingrained in this community, too, and give back to Kennett Square.”
In Oxford, McGlothlin is well known for supporting various community activities, including hosting breakfast fundraisers that help many different organizations. The Sawmill Grill was the recipient of the 2015 Business of the Year Award in Oxford as a result of the restaurant's strong ties to the community—and the aforementioned good food and great times at affordable prices.
The new Sawmill Grill, like the Oxford location, will feature traditional American food that families can enjoy together at an affordable price. The menu also includes a nice selection of wines and beers, including local beverage offerings.
The main dining and bar area offers a friendly atmosphere for a weekday lunch with the family or a beer or glass of wine with friends on the weekend. There are large-screen televisions here and in the spacious upstairs area. McGlothlin said that approximately 80 people can be accommodated in the main part of the restaurant, with space for an additional 100 people in the upstairs rooms. There is ample room for dining upstairs, and there’s even a private room that can be reserved by a group for board meetings or birthday parties for between 30 and 36 people.
“We can do any menu that people would want for these rooms,” McGlothlin explained.
There are even six tables set up in the outside patio area for dining during nice days.
“We’re really excited about that,” McGlothlin added.
It was a fairly easy process to transform the building into the newest Sawmill Grill—just some simple changes to the décor were necessary, according to McGlothlin. The building previously housed two restaurants, the Taste of Puebla and Kennett Steak and Mushrooms, in recent years. McGlothlin credited the building’s owners, Lou Caputo and Herb Guest, with doing an outstanding job of making sure that the facilities were perfectly suited to the Sawmill Grill’s needs.
“They really care about the community,” McGlothlin said. “They have a beautiful property here, and they spared no expense. We’re excited to be here.”
Jeremy Reimert was enlisted to serve as the managing partner for the new Sawmill Grill. Reimert has enjoyed a long career in the restaurant business, with approximately 22 years of experience. He had previously worked with McGlothlin in the restaurant business for about eight years, so they both knew that they shared a vision for what makes for a good restaurant. Reimert’s participation in the new Sawmill Grill was essential, in part because McGlothlin is not only involved with the Sawmill Grill in Oxford, but also the Octoraro Hotel and Tavern, which is undergoing extensive renovations that were made necessary by a fire in the building in late 2014. The Octoraro Hotel and Tavern should be ready to open again early in 2017.
McGlothlin said that he may not have opened the second Sawmill Grill without a capable managing partner that he could trust. Together, McGlothlin and Reimert have assembled a staff of about 40 people to deliver the quality service that is so critical to the Sawmill Grill’s success in Oxford.
“It’s always about the people that you have,” McGlothlin said, commenting on the importance of a good staff to a restaurant’s success.
McGlothlin said that the business community in Kennett Square has been very welcoming. Mary Hutchins, the executive director of Historic Kennett Square, was quick to reach out and help in any way possible as the restaurant was preparing to open.
“It made us feel welcome—like we are already a part of Kennett Square,” McGlothlin said. “It’s a beautiful town with a great heritage. The community events to bring people to town—events like the Mushroom Festival, the Kennett Brewfest, and the Third on Thursdays—are wonderful.”
The Sawmill Bar & Grill is open from 11 a.m. to midnight each Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. each Thursday through Saturday.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.