Richard deBondt and the folks at Northampton Wine + Dine had already been planning to update the restaurant and wine bar even before COVID-19 hit the Upstate. The intimate space at 211 E. Broad St., a short stroll just off Main Street in downtown Greenville, hadn’t undergone any redesign in more than 17 years.
“When the COVID shutdown suppressed us, we thought it was a pretty good time to get things done in here,” deBondt said.
Those who’ve come to love the space in the decades it’s been in business need not worry: the character of Northampton remains unchanged. There will be no “overly modern” additions, nor any “purposefully rustic” adornments either.
“It’s an old building, originally built in 1891, so some aspects just already are rustic – we can’t help that,” deBondt said.
Northampton originally began its life as a wine shop nearly 50 years ago, before expanding its offerings with the opening of the restaurant.
The building itself, which is on the National Register for Historic Places, used to house Greenville’s Trolley Barn and the Duke Power Co.’s steam plant. Before Northampton took over the space, it served as the site of the Warehouse Theatre. It underwent a major renovation in 1992 at a cost of more than $1 million, using historical records as a guide to ensure the old character remained.
But with the latest renovation, the entrance area, which was “a little cramped before,” according to deBondt, has been expanded to be more open and welcoming.
The small liquor store that originally operated within the space has been converted into a private dining room, well-suited for business groups, private parties or those looking for a more secluded setting.
The dining room itself, once carpeted, now features hardwood floors. A barn-style door, designed by local artist Yuri Tsuzuki, offers the option for private events in the dining room as well.
Tsuzuki is perhaps best known for her “Butterfly Project,” which serve as symbols of hope for cancer survivors in the Upstate.
“We know Yuri, and based on her work, we just thought it would be a really cool addition,” deBondt said.
But beyond the physical upgrades, deBondt said Northampton remains unchanged from its original style.
“We’re not changing cuisine, we’re not changing quality, we’re not changing style,” he said. “And don’t worry, we’re not modernizing too much – just a little, and we think it turned out great.”