While up to his elbows in suds, Smith had a dream of standing at the sink in the kitchen of his own restaurant.
Four years ago, that dream became a reality when he opened City Cellar & Loft in downtown Cartersville.
“I saw this place empty and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m ready to do this,’” Smith said recently while standing behind the bar at his restaurant just before an interview with Cartersville Downtown Development Authority manager Tara Currier about his selection as its merchant of the month for September.
“I think several reasons play into the City Cellar & Loft being such a draw for downtown,” said Currier. “Bob has created a wonderful ambience in the restaurant, including the comfortable fireplace lounge area, and the lighting he has put in the restaurant. Top off the unique atmosphere with truly delicious food and great customer service, and it’s no wonder he has people coming to dine at the City Cellar over and over again.”
With a varied menu of items for even the most discerning of palates, Smith said eating at his restaurant is about more than just wetting your whistle.
“We’re accommodating,” said Smith, who runs a top-notch operation with manager Julie Putz. “When you go out to eat, you should have a shared experience.”
On every Tuesday for the month of September the restaurant is offering a fee kid’s meal for children 10 and under with the purchase of one adult entrée.
Smith said Cartersville is the ideal location for his restaurant, which has become a staple in the community, known for its generosity as much as its shrimp and grits.
From unique local fundraisers, such as the City Cellar Dwellers, which raises money for Advocates for Children, to helping with international organizations such as Project 360, which raises money through fashion apparel on a wide range of social issues, Smith is a giver.
“Bob really is an approachable guy and especially if it is helping a nonprofit or worthy cause, he is nearly always going to do what he can to help out,” Currier said.
Currier said one idea from Smith blossomed into the DDA-sponsored Sample Your City, which returns Oct. 3 and 4, from 2 to 7 p.m. each day. Tickets are $10.
“Bob’s suggestion was a great one, and I feel led to the creation of an event that will hopefully continue to help increase awareness of the many downtown culinary offerings we have,” Currier said.