The Redneck Gourmet

Family owned & operated since 1991. Historic downtown Newnan, Georgia. Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

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History of the Building

The building that now houses Redneck Gourmet, 11 North Court Square, is well-recognized for its exterior mural celebrating country music superstar and Newnan native Alan Jackson, as well as David Boyd’s iconic Redneck sign. Mike and Cile Smith founded the current restaurant (which for several years included a specialty foods shop) in 1991. Their youngest son, Casey Smith, and his wife Melissa took over the business in 1999. The building was first built in 1885 out of wood, until a fire burnt down the building in 1889. M. F Cole built a brick, two-story building in its place in 1889, which housed a barber shop in the basement and an office and bank on the main floor. The new building was also furnished with hot and cold bathing stalls. In 1911, the building housed Newnan Banking Company and an insurance company on the main floor, a printing service on the second floor, and Electric Motor in the basement. When visiting Below the Neck, the current restaurant’s basement bar, you can see the remnants of the bank’s support structures for the vault, which was likely removed at some point in the middle of the 20th century. The basement transformed into a shoe shop in 1927. In the 30s and 40s, 11 N Court Square housed Bill Cook’s Men’s Clothing Store and a dress shop owned by Mattie Cook (Bill Cook’s mother). During this time, the second floor changed from insurance offices to a dentistry to WCOH, the local radio station. In 1962, WCOH became WNEA, where Johnny Brown from the Newnan Times Herald covered sports on air. In the 70s, Brown would arrange for the Georgia football team to stop in Newnan every time they would travel to Auburn, so the people of Newnan could greet the team. In addition to WNEA, the building housed June’s Oriental Wig Shop and Marcus Fashion in the late 70s. In the 80s, the second floor changed to a real estate office. The building was bought in 2003 by the current owners. While renovating the building, Smith was surprised to find what apparently were 19th century bathing stalls, which could be traced back to M. F Cole’s renovation in 1889.

Historical information and photos courtesy of the Newnan-Coweta History Center

Historical Photos of 11 N Court Square

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