An expansion of Centurion into the space next door has been in the works since February. Eric Osburn, chef and owner, is hoping the work will be done by Nov. 20.
Currently, the restaurant only has 14 seats inside and 14 outside. A boost in its clientele base and an increase in large parties of diners are part of what prompted the expansion.
“Just last week, I had to turn away a party of 25 and a party of 40,” Osburn said.
Osburn believes the Phoenix area needs a bar with reasonable prices. He believes Centurion will fill this need after its expansion. Trini Fragozo, owner of neighboring Volr Salon and a regular customer, said he loves the personal atmosphere at Centurion and is excited about the expansion.
“I think he really needs it,” Fragozo said.
The two spaces it is expanding into were previously an aquarium shop, but they have been empty for about three years. The expansion will allow Centurion to serve mixed drinks at its bigger bar. The kitchen, dishwashing, storage and office areas will be enlarged as well.
The expansion will allow Centurion to offer more than 100 bottles on its wine list, more than 30 bottles of beer, 10 draft beers and a full bar for mixed drinks.
“We are going to specialize in great wine, great beers and great specialty cocktails,” Osburn said.
During the expansion, Roosevelt Square Apartments was sold, which meant Centurion had to sign a new lease. Osburn said the new owners have been great and even helped finance some of the plumbing.
“They take great care of us,” Osburn said.
Roosevelt Square declined to comment on the expansion.
Cary Hawkins, Osburn’s sous chef, said the expansion has brought him a bigger role in the restaurant. He went from being a part-time employee to working full time.
“I think the expansion is going to help bring in a younger crowd, which will excite everyone here,” Hawkins said.
Attracting a younger crowd is one of the goals of the expansion. Some young people frequent the restaurant now, but Osburn is hoping the new bar will add the “good time” element that will attract the younger crowd.
Centurion will also feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights, along with specials such as $2 craft beer on draft, $4 glasses of wine and $3 mixed drinks during happy hour. At lunchtime, Centurion will offer a sandwich, a side and a drink for $5.
Osborn also wants to promote the nightlife scene in the area, especially because of the restaurant’s proximity to venues such as Crescent Ballroom. The bar will be open until 2 a.m. and will be serving the “late-night lovers special” — two desserts and a bottle of sparkling wine for $25.
“We are all excited here, naturally. It’s a huge deal,” Osburn said.
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