FLORENCE — One of the Shoals’ most iconic restaurants, and another that recently closed, soon will have new management.
Dale’s restaurant, which has been in business for 50 years, will be under new ownership and undergo a makeover beginning Jan. 1.
And Demos’s, which closed earlier this fall and was sold, will reopen as Sam’s Sports Grill.
Al Thomas and Sam Sanchez have purchased Dale’s from owner Chuck Tompkins, who will remain a partner in the new business.
Thomas and Sanchez will be signing a lease with the owners of the Demos’s property, a company owned by the Anderson family of Florence, next week.
Thomas said he is familiar with Florence and welcomes the opportunity to return to the market. He was a managing partner in the company that owned Princeton’s restaurant during the 1990s before the restaurants were sold to another company.
“I like the Florence market,” Thomas said. “It’s a great restaurant market.”
He said he wanted to buy Dale’s 18 years ago when Tompkins bought it, and when the opportunity arose recently to take control of it, he and Sanchez jumped at the opportunity.
They have worked together in restaurant management and ownership in the Nashville area with Sam’s Sports Grill and Sperry’s restaurants.
“Everybody knows about Dale’s in the Nashville area when you mention Florence,” Thomas said. “I’m doing everything I can to not shoot down the Dale’s brand. I want the sales to be good and the staff to make good money.”
Dale’s will be renovated and updated, while the menu will be a blend of traditional Dale’s entrees and Sperry’s entrees, he said. Private dining rooms also will be available.
Both restaurants will undergo renovations beginning at the first of the year, and should be open for business in late February and early March.
Van Morgan, president of Downtown Florence Unlimited, the merchants’ association, said he is sure the changes will be positive ones.
“I can say that I know the public won’t be disappointed with the changes,” he said.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.