mon. - thurs. 11-9
205 w. cedar st.
The story behind Brickyard Cafe, Franklin …
In 1995, Zeljko “Jake” Simic and Robert Stupar left the war-torn former Yugoslavia to forge a new life in the United States. Jake was a restaurateur in Bosnia, and Robert was a baker in Croatia. In 1998, they opened the Brickyard Cafe in Bowling Green, Ky. With its combination of Italian food, friendly atmosphere, and excellent service, Brickyard Cafe became a resounding success as a fine dining experience in downtown Bowling Green.
Robert and Jake responded to the appreciation shown by their customers and friends by expanding. In the summer of 2005 they saw the perfect place for their new restaurant, PJ’s General Store in Franklin, Ky. Built in the early 1900s, the building’s early occupants were the Franklin Carriage Company and the Hatter Hardware Company. In what is now the bar area, today’s patrons can admire the old hardware store sign. In the main dining room, an old horse-drawn buggy is suspended on the original manually-operated lift platform. The lift transported buggies and carriages for repair in the second and third floor workshops.
During remodeling, the new owners uncovered original wooden floors, discovered thick walls constructed with Simpson County’s Ford Brothers’ bricks, and revealed the original limestone footings that came from the same quarry as the stone used to build the former jail, now home to the Simpson County Archives. The original glass-paneled front doors also were restored. The old 8,000 pound Diebold safe now rests in the private dining area beyond 10-foot sliding doors, which provided entrance to the carriages in the back of the building.
It is said that a piece of gold lies under the floorboards of the Franklin Brickyard Cafe. Years ago it fell to the floor and rolled into a crack between the floorboards, never to be seen again according to the veteran players of the never-ending and hotly-contested Rook competition that used to take place in the back of the old hardware store.
Jake and Robert have preserved some of Franklin’s rich local history while recreating the ambience of the cafes in the coastal cities along the Adriatic Sea, known for their authentic Italian and Mediterranean food and casual elegance.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the Brickyard Cafe, where the past and the present come together for excellent food and hometown hospitality.