New campus restaurants to open

Fountain of Juice installed its signs this week in its new location set to open in Mercer Village soon. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL DELLA POLLA/The Cluster)

When students return to campus for the fall semester they are going to have a variety of food to choose from in Mercer Village. Both Margaritas Mexican Grill and Fountain of Juice are currently under construction.

The Rodriguez family founded Margarita’s Mexican Grill and has been serving the Middle Georgia area since 1988. The chain currently has three locations in Macon and one in Milledgeville.

Brad Cork, an in-law of the family, will be overseeing the Mercer Village location with his wife, Valerie.

Cork said, “This will be a smaller location than the others. It’s 3,200 square feet. So we will have a limited menu, but most of things we have removed are items college students do not order.”

The family debated how to run the Mercer Village location, whether as a full-service restaurant or a setup similar to Moe’s . “We want to continue the feel of traditional Mexican restaurants where customers sit down to order and they are served chips and salsa.”

The restaurant will also have the feel of a pub where students and locals can come to enjoy a beer and football games on Saturdays.

The tentative plan for the Margarita’s restaurant is to have 36 draft beers and a large selection of bottled beers as well.

“This location will cater to a different clientele than the other three and will reach a new market,” said Cork. “Our plan is to gain input from students and local residents about what selection of beers they want.”

The target opening for the Mexican restaurant is Aug. 1. The business will do a soft opening to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

The hours of operation for the Mercer Village location will be flexible. “We’re going to do whatever we can to be open when business dictates. Our intention is to be open for kids to eat on Thursday nights at midnight if that’s what they want.” However, the restaurant will be sensitive to residents living above the establishment.

Natasha Phillips, owner of Fountain of Juice, said the new restaurant will have the same feel and menu as the current location on Vineville.

“We’ve seen the area grow and College Hill grow and we wanted to be part of it,” said Phillips.

The tentative hours of operation for Fountain of Juice are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

The restaurant will offer breakfast items such as paninis and frittatas, while continuing their tradition of soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch.

Phillips said, “We use all-natural ingredients and we try to stay healthy, but not everything can be. We use heavy creams in some of our soups.”

The restaurant will also offer smoothies, juices and baked goods. Phillips said that their signature vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, as well as homemade cookies will be available.

“We are a green restaurant. We use cups made of corn that biodegrade quickly and our forks and spoons are made from potato starch,” said Phillips.

She and her husband, Carl, opened the Vineville location in November of 2007. Carl Phillips is a Mercer alumni who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He then attended graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The Mercer Village location for Fountain of Juice will incorporate the same, bright feel as the Vineville location.

For the full menu and updates on the progress of Fountain of Juice’s new location students can visit