Southern-Style Restaurant Completes Glenwood Plaza

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After more than 30 years in the restaurant business, Joseph Bowers decided to open his own restaurant in the area. 

Raised in the low country of  Savannah, Georgia, and influenced by local Gullah-Geechee culture cuisine, Bowers said he discovered his love for cooking at a young age while cooking with his grandparents. By age 16 he was already in the restaurant business.

“Those are the recipes that we cook in Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina – that whole region,” he said.

With the opening of Savannah Joe’s, a southern-style soul food restaurant at 2905 Glenwood Ave., the Glenwood Plaza is now full – a project that was started in January 2021.

“We have not only this business here, but the Glenwood Plaza here is now totally full,” said Ian Beniston, executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We have Inspiring Minds, QuickMed Urgent Care, Glenwood Fresh Market and Protestant Family Service all in this facility.”

Savannah Joe’s is located at 2905 Glenwood Ave.

Beniston said the vision for the plaza was to add neighborhood serving amenities – a vision he believes they’ve fulfilled.

“This is the only full-service restaurant that is on Glenwood Ave.,” he said. “It’s a great addition to the South Side.” 

YNDC soon will be renovating another building across the street, Beniston said, leaving the already existing barber shop. Later this year, the organization also plans to renovate the former Foster Theatre with additional commercial space.

 “This is an ongoing [and] continued revitalization process along Glenwood Avenue, and it’s going well,” Beniston said. “We hope to continue that momentum.”

Bowers, who is from the Cornersburg area, said he passed by and saw the construction on the plaza one day. From there, he knew it would be the perfect spot for his business.

“It’s going to bring jobs. It’s going to bring great food [and] community,” he said. “It is going to be a great spot for family atmosphere for people to come and hang out. It brings all of that together.”

Bowers said there was already a lot of kitchen equipment in the building, but a lot of it needed to be adjusted. After renovations, he said he put over $100,000 into the space. 

The dining area at Savannah Joe’s in Youngstown.

Fried chicken, fried haddock and catfish, pork chops, candied yams, oven-baked mac and cheese, collard greens and more will be offered at the restaurant. Deserts such as pound cake, red velvet cake and banana pudding will also be offered.

Currently, 15 are employed at the location, but Bowers said he plans to employ more line cooks and servers.

Bowers said he is already receiving overwhelming community support. During the soft opening last Friday and Saturday, more than 300 customers attended.

“The second day that we opened, we totally sold out,” he said. “We had so many people, the line was out the door from the time that we opened until the time we closed.”

If the momentum continues, Bowers said he plans to open an additional location elsewhere.

Bowers also brings family and religious values to his restaurant. He said his wife and daughter will be working with him, and the food is “prepared under prayer.”

“It has always been my dream,” he said. “I have opened a lot of restaurants for others, and now it is time for my dream to come to pass.”

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m .Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. For more information and a full menu, click HERE.

Pictured at top: Joseph Bowers, third from left, with family, staff and community members during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Savannah Joe’s.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.