Florence business owner making a comeback after fire heavily damages popular restaurant

Owner reviving Florence restaurant following fire

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - For decades, the Lamplighter Restaurant served hungry customers at its home on South Irby Street.

As if running a business during a pandemic wasn’t hard enough, owner Chris Mitropoulos faced another hurdle, when a fire caused major damage to his restaurant in August.

He planned to renovate and reopen the Lamplighter, but an insurance issue put things on hold.

“I waited for six months, that’s too long. I can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Mitropoulos.

In a matter of weeks, Mitropoulos is opening up Chris’s Diner on Pamplico Highway. They’re still renovating, but he hopes to open by the end of the month

While there is a new name and location, Mitropoulos said the menu still includes their famous grits.

“You know we have the best grits in the south, the best breakfast really, that’s what the customers say I’m not just bragging about it,” said Mitropoulos.

While Mitropoulos is a little nervous about starting over, he’s got a great staff helping him get started.

Mitropoulos said Adrian Smith is his best cook.

“The area is okay, but we’re looking to make it better when they get a taste of these grits, eggs, patties, links, and bacon,” said Smith.

Smith worked at the Lamplighter for two years, and he couldn’t put into words what it was like to see the restaurant go.

But he’s excited for the new opportunity at Chris’s Diner, and he’s even more excited to see Mitropoulos continue his passion.

“For me to leave the Lamplighter and actually see him have his own, with his own name, that speaks volumes,” said Smith.

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