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Neighborhood Grill moving to new location

New location: Neighborhood Grill is moving into the site formerly occupied by Helfi’s Grill, at 309 Seventh St. N. in Clanton. Owner Jason Lea said he expects the restaurant to open the week of April 11. (Photos by Stephen Dawkins)

New location: Neighborhood Grill is moving into the site formerly occupied by Helfi’s Grill, at 309 Seventh St. N. in Clanton. Owner Jason Lea said he expects the restaurant to open the week of April 11. (Photos by Stephen Dawkins)

Jason Lea, owner of Neighborhood Grill, hopes the restaurant’s move to a new location will allow it to become a community centerpiece.

Neighborhood Grill is being moved to 309 Seventh St. N. in Clanton (the site of the former Helfi’s Grill).

The old location was 202 Seventh St. S. (in the Associated Foods shopping center). The restaurant opened in December 2014.

Lea said the new location is several times the size of the former spot. Square footage will increase from about 12,000 to about 36,000, and seating capacity will increase from 39 to 114.

Timeliness, service and food presentation will all be stressed, Lea said.

The restaurant will become a full service operation, as customers will pay at the table instead of at the counter as they did at the former location.

To accommodate the expected demand, the kitchen at the new location is being expanded.

Also, the size of the restaurant staff could quadruple to about 40 employees.

Work in progress: Greg Wooden with Big John’s Welding Service, Troy Pippen with Able Plumbing and Rus Hardy with Hardy Multimedia perform renovations at the new site of Neighborhood Grill.

Work in progress: Greg Wooden with Big John’s Welding Service, Troy Pippen with Able Plumbing and Rus Hardy with Hardy Multimedia perform renovations at the new site of Neighborhood Grill.

Existing flat-screen televisions will be utilized, and a high-definition projection screen along and a sound system throughout the site has been added to make the restaurant a college football game day destination.

Lea said historic photos of Chilton County people and places will decorate the walls, along with other memorabilia. The owner said he hopes the décor makes residents feel at home.

“It’s going to be their neighborhood restaurant—they’re spot,” Lea said.

The former location closed March 18, and Lea said the restaurant should re-open at its new location the week of April 11.

Neighborhood Grill will be open at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, closing at 8:30 p.m. weeknights and at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The menu will include familiar favorites from the previous location—including chicken carbonara, buffalo wings and fried shrimp—with some new additions.

Lea said new menu items could include red wine reduction marinara, colossal fried onion and hot hamburgers. He also plans for an expanded salad selection, and a soup of the day and fish of the day.

Fish choices will rotate among mahi-mahi, grouper, tuna filet and red snapper.

All food served at Neighborhood Grill is cooked to order, Lea said.

“We don’t order anything that’s pre-cooked,” he said. “We’re making everything in-house.”

Lea said he has been in the restaurant business since he was 18, gaining experience with everything from cooking to serving.

“I’ve done it all,” he said.

Lea started a catering business in 2012 and later opened Neighborhood Grill in Clanton because of his wife’s connections to the area.

“I’ve really gotten to know the community, and I think they’ve embraced our food,” Lea said. “I love cooking food, and I love serving people.”

Neighborhood Grill will continue to offer catering services.