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Mama mia! City lands new eatery

By Staff
Emporium mall closing to make room for restaurant
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A new Italian restaurant named "Giovanni's" is headed to Hartselle.
The new business will be located in the old freight depot on Railroad street currently occupied by The Emporium at Railroad Street Crossing, a popular antique mall with approximately 20 vendors.
A lease-purchase deal for the historic building was closed recently with David and Anne Burleson and Fate and Linda Webster. The new owners are Herb Underwood and Rod Ross, both of Decatur. Underwood is a medical technician at Huntsville Hospital and Ross is owner of the Lagniappe Caf/ in Decatur.
"The timing to sell was good for all of us," Burleson stated. "Anne and I want to spend more time with our boys while they're growing up and Fate and Linda want to be free where they can travel more."
The process of closing out the business is under way. "Our goal is to get out by the end of June," Burleson said.
The Emporium was opened in August 1996, a year after the building was purchased and subsequently restored.
"I'm very excited about Hartselle getting an Italian restaurant," said Mayor Dwight Tankersley. "It will fill a market gap and be a big asset to our community."
Underwood said plans are to have "Giovanni's" open for business for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. It will occupy about 4,000 of the old depot's 10,000 sq. ft. The remainder will be used for a specialty shop.
The name of the restaurant comes from the Ross' great grandfather, Giovanni Falcon. It will be designed along the lines of the Spaghetti Factory franchise.