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Eatery planned for main street

An old friend is returning to Greenville and bringing a unique flavor with him.

Mack Smith, a longtime resident of Greenville, plans to make his way back to the Camellia City in the near future and open an American-Latino restaurant.

Smith plans to open the restaurant in the building currently housing New Life Christian Church on Commerce Street.

&uot;I have purchased the building and that is where we plan to open,&uot; said Smith. &uot;There is still a church there now. They are leasing it from me for the time being.&uot;

Smith said he hopes to open within the next year.

&uot;We are shooting for the summer of 2005,&uot; said Smith. &uot;That is our target date. We hope to be ready by then.&uot;

After being away from Greenville for so long Smith said he was ready to come home. Smith spent the last 25 years in Miami as a nurse and said he was ready to exchange the hectic South Beach life for a relaxed rural environment.

&uot;I felt like it was time for a change,&uot; he said. &uot;I am really excited about coming back. All of my family is from there. Right now we are just getting our equipment and getting ready.&uot;

The idea for an American and Latin upscale restaurant came from the exposure to the food he has had in Miami. Smith said he has met many people and gathered many ideas through the years, which have prepared him for the restaurant.

&uot;Living in South Florida it is mostly Hispanic,&uot; said Smith. &uot;We’ve had a lot of exposure to that type of food.&uot;

Smith said his partner Joel Cordena has provided many of the recipes they’ll use.

&uot;I have many recipes and lots of experience,&uot; said Smith. &uot;My partner Joel has helped me a lot. It’s possible his family will come back with us.&uot;

Smith said he wanted to open the restaurant in the downtown area to help be a part of the revitalization.

Smith has many fond memories of the area and said he was excited about the location.

&uot;It will be very good to open a place downtown,&uot; said Smith. &uot;It is a beautiful area and we are happy to be putting the restaurant there.&uot;

Main Street Executive Director Nancy Idland said it was great to know a restaurant is coming to the downtown area.

&uot;This is just fabulous news,&uot; she said. &uot;I just see it as a very good thing for our downtown and it is something we needed very much.&uot;

Idland said it was something many people have wanted to see.

&uot;We have all been really hoping that we would get a good restaurant establishment somewhere in the downtown area,&uot; she said.

&uot;I can’t wait.&uot;

This will be Smith’s first venture into the restaurant business, but don’t be fooled. He is armed with the knowledge of the food and enthusiasm to bring a very successful business to his hometown.

Smith said he would continue to develop items for the menu as things progress.