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New restaurant moving into Columbus   

 Mel & Lo’s Bar and Grill moving into former Larkin’s space 

COLUMBUS—A new restaurant will open in Columbus soon. Business partners and long time friends Loir Kerr and Melissa Metcalf will be opening Mel & Lo’s Bar & Grill in late April.  

Melissa and Lori came up with the name from a nickname that their children gave them.  

We came up with the name from our nicknames that our children gave us. Well, our children had cell phones back when it was the T9 texting so everybody shortened all of their text messages to three or four letters because you had to tap away for each letter,” Melissa said. “So Melissa became Mel and Lori became Lo.” 

For some reason with all of our friends and kids the shortened version of our names just stuck,” Lori said. “We raised our kids together, we each have two children, and we had talked about how nice it would be to get our own restaurant and place.” 

Lori and her former husband were the owners of the Cross Roads restaurant in Green Creek for a number of years. Melissa worked as a caterer for Cross Roads alongside Lori for nearly 10 years.  

The owners are both from the area and said they believe this restaurant is great opportunity to play a larger role in the community.  

We are both from here and have lived here all of our lives in this area,” Lori said. We wanted to be somewhere around this area to be with family and friends in this community. The opportunity to buy Larkin’s just presented itself and it was something we felt that we needed to do.” 

Connor Metcalf, one of Melissa’s daughters will be in charge of the back of the house affairs and the general food preparation. She comes with plenty of experience previously cooking for Southside Smokehouse and Harvest House. Lori and Connor have already created a menu for the restaurant that they said they believe will have all the qualities of a bar and grill, southern food and general American cuisine.  

In addition to the new menu and changes in the kitchen, future patrons of Mel & Lo’s can look forward to a renovated space. Melissa and Lori have had the building completely repainted with all new floors. They have also added new equipment in the kitchen that was not previously there, allowing them more flexibility and a wider range of options on the menu. 

Lori said she wanted to reassure everyone that they will be keeping Wednesday Wing night and they will be bringing back the banana pudding desert that was at Cross Roads. They also plan to add trivia and other bar events in the future. Mel & Lo’s will have a total of six specialty days a week, Monday through Saturday: Mel-Lo Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wings on Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Finally Friday, and Steakhouse Saturday.  

Melissa and Lori said they are excited about the opportunity to have a flexible menu and add or remove things and make changes as they see fit. 

We don’t feel like we are competing with everybody in town,” Melissa said. “We are sliding into a position that fits in with the other businesses and restaurants. We will have our own distinct style and food.” 

When we purchased the restaurant we knew that the amount of tourism in the town was increasing because of the equestrian center and the other new businesses in Columbus,” Lori said. “ Columbus is growing and that is good for businesses and residents in this area.  

Mel & Lo’s is an independently owned, family business and is a fundamental part of why Melissa and Lori said they chose to take this business venture. 

We both grew up here and raised our children here,” Melissa said. We feel like the growth of this town and this county will sustain our children and us. We want this to be a place for our children to grow up in and raise their children in the future.” 

By Samuel Robinson 

Sam.robinson@tryondailybulletin.com