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'Upscale feel with a casual experience '

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final story in a series about new restaurants opening in downtown Thomson.

Jason Holbrook hopes to open a whole new world for diners in Thomson. Coop's Uptown Grille will open in mid-July with an American-contemporary style menu.

"I just want the food to speak for itself for what it is," Mr. Holbrook said. "I want to let people step out of the box with what they eat."

Coop's menu will consist of steaks, seafood, pastas and appetizers such as shrimp tacos.

"It won't have very many fried foods at all," Mr. Holbrook said. "It's a whole different experience for Thomson."

The experience is not new for Mr. Holbrook, however. He has three degrees from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston -- bakery/pastry, culinary arts and restaurant management.

His experience in the kitchen started long before college. Mr. Holbrook said his grandfather, Bill Cooper, owned bakeries and his grandmother decorated cakes.

"Ever since I was little, I was on my grandfather's heels in the kitchen," he said, explaining the restaurant is named in honor of his grandfather.

Coop's is in the north end of the Austin Oaks apartments building on Jackson Street. The restaurant will have four dining rooms, which Mr. Holbrook is in the process of remodeling with a coastal theme.

"My door will be open to anybody, whether they're wearing overalls to a three-piece suit. It'll have an upscale feel with a casual experience," he said.

The restaurant will share parking with the Knox Terrace Motel, and Mr. Holbrook said the motel owners have been very supportive. The parking area behind the restaurant will be reorganized to accommodate more vehicles, also.

The building is "the old Palmer house," Mr. Holbrook said, and has had several uses throughout the years -- something Mr. Holbrook hopes doesn't confuse patrons.

He said Coop's will be a restaurant, not a banquet hall. In the near future, he hopes to have dining outside in the courtyard, also.

Coop's Uptown Grille will be open from 5 until 9:30 p.m. for dinner only. It will be closed Sundays and Wednesdays. No alcohol will be served.

"But I will offer a wider variety of drinks, different flavorings for drinks," Mr. Holbrook said.

"My whole goal is to serve the people. You can have great food, but bad service. I want to offer great food and great service."

Web posted on Thursday, July 01, 2010

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