CENTRAL POINT — A longtime manager of the upscale Bella Union in Jacksonville is joining with a slew of partners to breathe new life into a long-languishing historic building and establish a happening spot in the downtown.
The Point Bar & Grill will open on the corner of Pine and Third streets sometime in mid-October with lunch and dinner offerings, and the new owners, who purchased the old masonry building this summer, plan to add breakfast fare by the beginning of the new year.
Tyler Hoevet, manager of the Bella Union for more than a decade, is joining with a group of 10 partners to offer a menu of appetizers and upscale bar and grill offerings.
The building was formerly home to the Dugout, a burger joint founded in Medford and relocated after the closure of Musician's Friend.
Former owners and city officials say limited parking and a slow economy has shuttered a number of restaurant ventures at the location and in nearby storefronts.
Opened in fall of 2011, the Dugout closed in spring 2012. The building has also housed the upscale Rostel's and an eatery dubbed The Brick.
Hoevet, who lives in Central Point, said he wanted to offer a quality restaurant in his hometown that would develop as loyal a following as his beloved Bella Union.
Partner Don Berryessa said the small-town feel of Central Point was a big draw for them. He said the new restaurant's chef, Fredy Mendoza, will bring two decades of experience in the Bay Area "in everything from small intimate dinners to large-scale gatherings."
"We really like that area and the sense of community there, and we thought our restaurant would be a great complement for the town," he said.
"We purchased the building because we're committed to making this work. We really hope to last a long time there."
City Administrator Chris Clayton said residents and city officials are excited about the new restaurant.
The owners, Clayton said, solicited feedback from city officials to determine why previous culinary ventures had not been successful.
"We're excited that they actually bought the building, and they've even come into City Hall and asked us to improve the lighting in the alleyway between Second and Manzanita," Clayton said.
"They want to really focus on getting customers to use the public parking lots a few blocks away, because parking has always been an issue there, so we used an existing utility pole and brightened up that alley."
Clayton said Hoevet's experience with the popular Jacksonville restaurant provides confidence that the new business will be long-lasting.
"Even though this is sort of a new venture for them, we're excited about the chance of The Point being a success, because there's obviously a history with the Bella Union," Clayton said.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org