As TV’s “The Vampire Diaries” crew returned to Covington this week to prepare the square for filming for the show’s season five premiere, a construction crew was hard at work turning one of the show’s icons into a real-life restaurant.
Construction started this week on the planned Mystic Grill restaurant, located next to the Historic Courthouse on Clark Street. The restaurant is inspired by the restaurant and bar of the same name in “The Vampire Diaries.”
“The deal is done; the papers are signed. We have officially started construction,” said part-owner Angi Beszborn.
She said the restaurant will probably open in October, based on the current schedule.
Three local builders, Steve Smallwood, Adam Wilson and Dennis Young, are overseeing construction, which began with demolition work in the interior of the building, as old office space was torn out to make way for a restaurant.
The building used to house a law office and accounting firm behind the fake TV façade.
Beszborn said Wednesday the work will be slow, as construction workers will make sure the building is stable following the May 2012 fire that damaged it. She said the builders and owners will make sure the renovation of the building is done well and correctly.
“We want something uniquely Covington, a place people can go and take friends and family to show a little snapshot of Covington. The square is a perfect place to do that,” Beszborn said. “We want it done correctly from the beginning; that’s why it’s taking so long. We want to make sure everybody sees us and knows we’re going to be a good example of a business on the square. All the hoops we have to jump through – this is for the community.
“People think we will make a fortune, but it will be a while before we can draw a paycheck. It will be good if we can pay our bills,’’ she said. “We really do have the thought of doing this for the community, to give something extra for them.”
Wilson, who is acting as the on-site project manager, said the crew was building a loft area inside the restaurant Thursday and was preparing to move into the area that was more damaged by fire.
Malco Interiors was on-site Thursday and owner Kevin Malcolm said the company would work on framing, drywall and painting.
The restaurant is expected to have a bar on one side – similar to the layout in the TV show – as well as rooftop dining and a basement gift shop with “Vampire Diaries” merchandise; it will seat about 150 diners, Beszborn said previously.
The renovation is expected to cost $2.27 million, according to paperwork filed for a state loan.