Marquee restaurant opens in Batesburg’s downtown

The first lunch seating at The Root Cellar attracted brisk business, driven largely by word-of-mouth and anticipation of something new and exciting happening in the depressed downtown Batesburg district. (Staff photo by Tony Baughman)

The downtown Batesburg district is welcoming a new restaurant to town this week.

The Root Cellar, owned by Blair and Ashley Sims, is now open in what was the old Neighbors Café at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Oak Street in Batesburg. The Sims also have operated another popular restaurant of the same name in Lexington since 2013. They and their staff are eager to serve the residents of the community and will offer a variety of menu options.

Blair and Ashley Sims, owners of The Root Cellar, welcome guests with Southern hospitality and imaginative menu choices. (Staff photo by Tonya Rodgers)

“Batesburg is a growing town with a great sense of community, which is why we have fallen in love with the area and have chosen this as a place for our restaurant,” said Blair Sims. “Batesburg is like what Lexington used to be.”

One of the couple’s main focuses is on hospitality, so they both plan to take a very active role in their new restaurant by “hosting” and getting to know their customers. The Root Cellar is a “farm-to-table” restaurant, which means the food comes directly from local farms and other local sources.

The Root Cellar’s location in Lexington opened in 2016 and has quickly gained a reputation for serving innovative Southern cooking. Within two years, the location had hired as its executive chef Steven Poots, who spent six years cooking for the rich and famous at the famed Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters golf tournament.

The Batesburg location of The Root Cellar has been established in a building, an anchor on its block, that came into being in 1908 as Gunter’s Drug Company. The history of the building is traced through artwork hanging near the entrance.

The Sims have performed many renovations to the building where the restaurant is housed. New flooring has been put down, an additional row of tables and new equipment have been added, and a full service bar is now in place. About 95 percent of the workers will be from the Batesburg-Leesville area.

The Root Cellar is open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Root Cellar will be open all day on Sundays, which gives locals another dining option after church.

Folks who would like an evening cocktail with or after dinner can enjoy a full bar stocked with premium spirits.

“Come enjoy some delicious food and visit with your friends and neighbors,” said Blair Sims, encouraging everyone to stop by and check out what they have now to offer at The Root Cellar, right here in Batesburg-Leesville.