Geer Street owner plans Italian-American restaurant

May. 13, 2014 @ 12:02 PM

New Italian-American eatery The Boot planned: Andy Magowan, the owner of the popular downtown beer garden and eatery Geer Street Garden, is partnering to open a new Italian-American restaurant called The Boot in the Rockwood Center on University Drive.

The new eatery is targeted to open in August or September in the shopping center space that previously housed a Local Yogurt location, said Andy Perno, Magowan’s partner in the new restaurant.

Perno worked with Magowan to open Geer Street Garden in 2011, and he was a sous chef at the fine dining restaurant Piedmont. Magowan was formerly a chef and co-owner at Piedmont before he and his partner sold the restaurant to Eno Hospitality Group.

At The Boot, Magowan said their goal is to keep the portion sizes and the prices low so that guests can try a number of different menu items. He said they want to avoid the experience that guests sometimes have at Italian restaurants where they “feel like (they’re) going to die after (they’ve) eaten there” because of the large portions. They’re planning to have a mix of traditional pastas, Panini sandwiches, and salads.

“There really isn’t anywhere you can get a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, a chicken parmesan sub, and have affordable wine and sit in a nice space,” Perno said.

While some restaurants are special occasion destinations, Perno said they want The Boot to be the type of place where people go at the end of the day and they don’t feel like cooking where they may say “‘let’s grab the kids and go to The Boot and have spaghetti and meatballs and fettuccini Alfredo.’”

They’re planning to have six drafts, choices of 10 to a dozen bottled beers, as well as cocktails.

They’re having communal tables being built for the restaurant out of salvaged wood, Perno said, and also are planning to have booth seating. Perno said they want to have one “iconic giant corner booth” that can seat a lot of people as well as a bar area.

The planned location of the new restaurant in the Rockwood Center at 2501 University Drive “just made sense,” Perno said. It’s already a place where people go to enjoy food, with several restaurants in the area.


Have an item for The Buzz? Contact Laura Oleniacz at or at 919-419-6636.