Longtime friends open unique restaurant
By Greg Seiter // Photography by Angela Jackson
The age-old saying “opposites attract” is frequently used in conjunction with people and relationships and rarely, if ever, when describing restaurants and bars. In fact, eateries and night clubs often embrace consistency in theme and décor while attempting to attract patrons.
Longtime friends Bob Sendelbach and Willie Roegner were fully aware of the commonplace, economically sound, strategic recommendations for unified concept practices when they first started talking about going into business together. The thing is, they simply weren’t interested in following the same blueprint other food-service entrepreneurs have a tendency to do.
As a result, Antilogy, a unique restaurant establishment in Greenwood that boasts differing environments between day and nighttime hours, was born.
From early each morning until late afternoon, Antilogy, which opened in February at 5867 N. State Road 135 just south of Smokey Row Road, serves as a bright and lively brunch spot with a bustling coffeehouse vibe. However, as evening hours approach, the facility transforms into a bourbon and wine bar with a calming, take-it-easy groove.
“Antilogy means a contradiction in terms or ideas,” Sendelbach said. “We’ve created something that feels like two different restaurants in the same place.”
Sendelbach and Roegner, both Southside residents, first met when attending small, church gatherings. As they got to know one another through fellowship breakfasts, discussions about the possibility of going into business together became increasingly more common.
“We talked about the idea off and on for a long time, sometimes jokingly, sometimes not,” Sendelbach said. “It took quite a while to iron out the concepts for ideas that would be complimentary.”
Their differing backgrounds undoubtedly helped the duo in their development of what has already proven to be a successful business plan.
“I don’t have a lot of background in food service, but Willie has been in the industry since around 1996,” Sendelbach said. “He has done just about everything from concept development and working in large chains to running a kitchen and operating stores. On the other hand, I have a degree in business administration and an MBA. So I feel like we’re a good pairing in food and business.”
During brunch hours, guests experience a combination of natural and artificial light while listening to upbeat music. The setting is family-friendly and welcoming, due to a combination of traditional and long, farmhouse-style tables. Seating options are colorful and also varied, thanks to the rust and blue-grey colored couches and chairs set in a cozy, middle-of-the-dining room lounge area and intimate bar. There’s even a section of half-booth tables with standard chair seating on one side and couch backs on the other that are nestled up against a wall, opposite the restaurant’s main entrance. It’s covered in greyish-blue wallpaper that is accented with thin, gold-colored geometric lines and patterns.
“Some people just come in for a latte in the morning,” Sendelbach said.
For those who do, they can choose from several variations or opt for something like cappuccino or hot cocoa.
The brunch menu is loaded with options from starters, signature offerings, sandwiches and bowls, to classic dishes, salads and sweets.
According to Sendelbach, one shareable brunch time menu favorite has already proven to be Antilogy’s Biscuit Board, which combines warm, homemade buttermilk biscuits with jalapeno cornbread waffles, whipped butter, cinnamon butter and hot honey. Another popular choice is the Fruitology Board, which includes fresh cut fruit, local granola, yogurt and Nutella.
“We’ve also seen a lot of success with our vanilla bourbon French toast, biscuits and gravy and beef tenderloin Benedict,” Sendelbach added.
As night time hours approach, the mood changes at Antilogy.
“In the evening, our goal is to create more of a speakeasy setting,” Sendelbach said. “We dim the lights and the music changes a little. Not drastically, but in a way that is designed for people to come in with a group and enjoy each other’s company.”
That theme is reinforced by the fact that televisions are not available at the restaurant.
“It has been a topic of a lot of discussion but this was designed to be a place for conversation and interaction,” Sendelbach said. “The atmosphere, décor and food are all designed around community.
“We have WiFi for those who carry their television with them in a pocket.”
The facility’s bar area is simple, quaint and made to feel somewhat traditional thanks to a brick wall backdrop.
From an extensive adult-beverage menu, several cocktails stand out, but Sendelbach recommends one in particular.
“Our old fashioned is served with a garnish of bacon,” he said.
Aside from their current offerings, Antilogy ownership is also experimenting with the possibility of hosting events.
“We did our first wine tasting a few weeks ago and sold out in two hours,” Sendelbach said. “We had great feedback and we’re looking to do more things like that, including bourbon tastings.”
However, change at the establishment is not inevitable.
“We’ve adjusted hours a little bit to make sure we’re open when most effective, but honestly, the only changes we’ve made have really had to do with learning how to adapt to success,” Sendelbach said. “I don’t intend for that to sound arrogant, but never in a thousand years did we think we would have this much success, especially on weekends, and so much support from the community. At first, it was overwhelming, but we found really good staff and it feels like we’re executing well now.
“We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve received so far. Seeing the way this community has embraced us and hearing all the positive feedback has been really encouraging.”