A second Pick O’ Deli cafeteria location will be going into the former Fuddruckers building at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Highway and Riverside Parkway.

Jimmy Turner, owner of the cafeteria, closed on the purchase of the building Monday and is hoping to have the restaurant open early in 2021.

“We hope to be open March 1,” Turner said Monday afternoon.

Prior to that date they’ll be making upgrades and repairs to the heating and air conditioning system, on top of some roof work. The Fuddruckers building also will get some interior remodeling, with a significant expansion of the kitchen, and the addition of a drive-through window.

“There’s an unreal traffic count at the intersection of these two roads,” said Larry Cagle of Hardy Realty, who represented Turner in the deal. Jimmy Byars of Hardy represented the seller, CJC Inc.

The second location for Pick O’ Deli will create about 50 new jobs, according to Turner’s wife, Denise. The new restaurant will have the same hours and same menu as the Dean Avenue location.

The cafeteria on Dean Avenue is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Pick O’ Deli has been a landmark in East Rome since 1982. Turner took over the the business from his father in 1994.

The menu features daily specials — such as meatloaf and chicken livers on Tuesday, chicken and rice on Wednesday and fried catfish on Friday — along with a full line of meat entrees and a long list of vegetable side orders.

Denise Turner said they may add some items, including steaks, to the menu and enhance the bakery operation as well.

Turner had hoped to build a new restaurant behind his original Pick O’ Deli at 1403 Dean Ave. around a year and a half ago but that project never came together.

“After we couldn’t build the new building on Dean Avenue we wanted to find a bigger building and a way to grow our business, and this is it,” Denise Turner said. “We’ll also have a conference room, which we don’t have now.”

Before the remodel starts, Turner plans to hold an auction to sell off all of the memorabilia on the walls of the Fuddruckers building.

The memorabilia includes scores of old photographs of athletes, a large collection of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley photographs, old advertising signs and even two antique gasoline pumps.

The sale will be both online and in person at a date that will be announced soon.

Mike Lovely is designing the remodel of the building and Davis Construction will be the general contractor. Heritage First Bank provided financing for the deal. Turner agreed to pay $1.15 million for the property.

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