People and Places: Riverview Café and Artisans Market

People and Places

There’s a bit of a renaissance going on in downtown Plymouth.

“You can’t go wrong,” said Lou Manring, owner of Riverview Café and Artisans Market. “There’s no place to go but up.”

“Plymouth is turning around, slowly but surely,” said Washington County resident Keith Sawyer.

The newest addition is the Riverview Café and Artisans Market.

“It’s a community gathering place,” said Manring. “And that’s what we wanted to create.”

Owner Lou Manring isn’t a North Carolina native. He moved from Massachusetts to Washington County for work 12 years ago.    

“Retirement didn’t fit me well,” said Manring.

And that led to him and his wife Jill buying an old, gutted out the grocery store along Water Street that had been vacant for decades.

After months of work, the café opened in the back of the building in May.

“We don’t consider it the back of the building,” said Manring. “This is our focal point, the river here. These windows didn’t cost me too much in the grand scheme of things to put in, but I feel like they doubled the value of this whole project. And everyone that comes in, they don’t look at the menu board first. They look at the river first through these windows.”

As for the menu, they have coffee, smoothies and baked goods made by Jill.

“She makes incredible scones,” said Manring. “Blueberry scones, peach scones.”

And on the savory side, check out their take on comfort food.

“One of the biggest comfort foods in our minds was grilled cheese sandwiches,” said Manring. “Everyone loves a good grilled cheese sandwich. But that can get boring pretty quick. So, what we do is we create gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.”

A sloppy joe grilled cheese, roast beef, and barbecue sauce grilled cheese and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich are a few of the unique options.

But what makes this place unique is what you see when you walk through the front door. An artisans market featuring locally made products. Some of them even made right here on site.

“Everybody’s friendly,” said Sawyer. “We’ve got some talented people in here.”

Keith Sawyer is one of the folks you’ll find working up front.

“And it’s been the best thing we ever did,” said Sawyer. “Our sales have gone up threefold. It’s just been amazing.”

Amazing homemade goods and homemade food, all under one roof.

The locals are taking notice. And the Riverview Café is quickly becoming a destination for visitors, too.

“If you get off 64 on the way to the beach, come down, you’ll be surprised what you find down here,” said Sawyer. “You’re going to find a lot of nice, friendly people that are glad you came.”

“I just think so many people have been down on Plymouth for so long it was time for someone to be a little bit up on Plymouth,” said Manring. “I feel that it will become contagious. And I think it has to a certain extent already.”

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