Cocktails & chill
November 1, 2022
First Look: The Garrison
by Amanda Lea | photographs by Justin Driscoll
Tucked into a row of historic buildings, The Garrison is the newest addition to Pineville’s historic Main Street. The building that houses The Garrison was originally home to Pineville Loan and Savings Bank in 1910. Global Restaurant occupied the space for nearly six years before Kevin Devanney purchased it to create The Garrison. The cocktail bar and restaurant rolled out the red carpet (literally) to patrons on Sept. 30.
The name of the restaurant is a tribute to Devanney’s family, who immigrated from Ireland to England during the potato famine in the 1840s. “My family was in Birmingham [England] around the same time the Netflix series Peaky Blinders is set,” Devanney explains. “The Garrison is a pub in Birmingham that is a key part of the show.”
The Garrison is adjacent to Margaux’s Wine, Pizza & Market, Devanney’s first restaurant venture in Pineville that opened in 2021. The Margaux’s building was home to Devanney’s travel company, Incentive Travel Solutions, for 15 years. When his travel business was impacted by the pandemic in 2020, Devanney did what many of us learned to do — he pivoted. He moved his travel company to another location in Pineville and used the space to bring his dream for Margaux’s to life. Devanney grew up on “The Hill” in St. Louis, a neighborhood famous for its Italian markets and restaurants. Inspired to bring a similar experience to Pineville, Devanney created Margaux’s, which specializes in St. Louis-style pizza and a hand-picked selection of Old World wines.
Margaux’s quickly cultivated a dedicated customer base. But Devanney, who owns five buildings in Pineville and is enthusiastic about breathing new life into the area, recognized a need in the neighborhood for a different restaurant concept. So when the owner of Global Restaurant was looking to sell the space next door, Devanney knew immediately it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“We had this vision of The Garrison becoming a natural gathering space for the community,” says Devanney, who is an entrepreneur at heart with a passion for hospitality. Restaurants and the travel industry, he says, share a similar goal: to deliver a “wow” experience. “It’s about hospitality,” Devanney says. “Whether that’s attending a private event at the Colosseum in Rome or enjoying a unique dining experience in downtown Pineville. People want to feel special, and I enjoy planning the details to make that experience come together.”
Devanney was devoted to restoring the space’s historic charm while introducing a design concept that is equal parts easygoing and refined. He tries to bring buildings back to their original state as much as possible. “We restored the white French tile on the ceiling and brought in a local artist to hand-paint gold touches on each tile. We also brightened up the walls and uncovered and refinished the hardwood floors.”
The design touches in The Garrison are reflective of Devanney’s travels, including communal tables handmade from Tibetan wood and light fixtures from Istanbul.
With multiple seating options — a main bar and dining room downstairs and a smaller bar upstairs — there are plenty of nooks to tuck away and sip one of The Garrison’s skillfully crafted cocktails. The menu features unique takes on classics like the French Martini (vanilla vodka, Chambord, pineapple and lemon), or the barrel-aged Old Fashioned (bourbon, agave, chocolate bitters, aromatic bitters and orange bitters). Signature cocktails include the You Can Call Me Honey (gin, spiced honey syrup, lemon juice and lavender-vanilla bitters) or The Pink Smoke (mezcal, Aperol, lime and rosemary syrup).
Chef Logan Wright, who spent 10 years at Longview Country Club, is spreading his wings in this new venture with Devanney. “When Kevin told me about the concept and the name of the restaurant, it set my mind on this gastropub kind of experience,” Wright says.
The Garrison’s menu combines Wright’s Southern influences and Devanney’s international experiences. You’ll find traditional dishes such as pan-seared scallops with butternut squash risotto alongside Southern comfort foods, like crab hushpuppies and shrimp and grits. But the menu is also peppered with items that have a personal connection for Devanney and Wright. The toasted ravioli starter is a special request from Devanney’s St. Louis supporters. The recipe for the Cheerwine short ribs is inspired by Wright’s father. And the Firehouse #73 Burger is an homage to the parents of a 20-year-old firefighter who passed away while battling a fire in Pineville in 2016.
With a nod to the past and a wink at the future, The Garrison promises to be a place where people can gather and savor moments together. SP
The Garrison is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. The Garrison and Margaux’s will serve brunch on Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Nov. 6. Reservations are recommended but not required. thegarrisonrestaurantnc.com, 314 Main St., Pineville, (704) 889-4277
More to come: The second floor of The Garrison will host live music and comedy shows on select dates. The space can also be reserved for private events. Be on the lookout in 2023 for a speakeasy-esque bar on the rooftop of Margaux’s that will be accessed through The Garrison.