New restaurant to bring Southern flavor to Landrum

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LANDRUM —“We’ll have everything your grandma and mother cooked when you were growing up,” said Coy Cunningham, co-owner of the soon to open Cunningham’s restaurant. “Collard greens, black eyed peas, corn on the cob, apple pie, chocolate cake and all the fixins’.”

Cunningham and his business partner, Mitzi Presnell, hope to open next week in the old Brannon’s Restaurant location, just north of Landrum on Highway 14. Cunningham has spent several months remodeling the space to not only include the large main dining room, but also additional dining rooms, banquet/meeting rooms and outdoor porch seating.

Born and raised in Tryon, Cunningham majored in hotel and restaurant management in school. However, he actually learned to cook from his mother, Lorena Cunningham.

Cunningham’s co-owner, Coy Cunningham (right), talks with the restaurant’s dining room manager, Mathew Angel about the décor in the main dining area. (Photo by Catherine Hunter/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

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He plans to spend much of his time in the restaurant’s kitchen, but will also hire other cooks — his main chef will be Travis Morris, of Mill Spring.

Cunningham said the building’s former owners, Norm and Marianne Brannon, have been by several times not only to check on the progress, but to add ideas, wisdom and support. According to Cunningham, Norm said that he could see the anticipation in people’s eyes when he talked about the opening of the new restaurant.

Cunningham plans for the business to be much more than just a place to get great food. Future hopes include a ballroom dance space for waltzes and perhaps ‘70s dance music. He also wants to host a healthy space for teens on Sunday afternoons, possibly including an open mic jam and poetry venue.

He said ladies have already stopped by to ask about holding fashion shows there.

The restaurant also plan to serve breakfast and a Sunday buffet for after church. Cunningham said he already has ministers from two different churches ask if he can seat 45 to 50 people.

“We want to be a destination spot for the area,” he said. “We want to fulfill many of the community’s needs and wants for this space.”

Cunningham left Tryon in the mid 1980s because he said the area didn’t really offer anything for him economically. He has been working in Florida for the owners of the Tryon Resort, but is thrilled to be back home.

“Growing up in Tryon is the best start a child could have,” he said. “Coming back home is like you never left. This is where I plan to stay.”

Cunningham hopes to open next week, but has not yet determined a definite date. Though he has hired most of his wait staff, he is still looking for cooks and bussers.

The restaurant’s hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those interested in applying for positions can call 864-457-2270.

The restaurant is located at the North Carolina state line on Highway 14.