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Emporia Mayor Mary Person cuts the ribbon at Bank By Olivia’s Thursday. Pictured front row from left are Joyce Prince, Billy Harris, Dale Temple, William Johnson, Mary Person, Rhonda Gonzales, Tarrien Massenburg, Anthony Gonzales, Will Robinson.

The Bank by Olivia’s Thursday Grand Opening offered sophisticated flavors new to Emporia-Greensville.

Rhonda Gonzales, the owner of The Bank by Olivia, said she opened the restaurant to honor her mother-in-law, Dorothy, who died in Richmond from the Influenza.

Gonzales; Tairren Olivia Massenburg, co-owner and head chef of The Bank by Olivia and Gonzales’ niece; and Dorothy, Gonzales’ husband’s mother and Massenburg’s grandmother, joked about opening a restaurant together.

“Our family is really close and she [Dorothy] was the glue that kind of held everybody together,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales and Massenburg were determined to open The Bank by Olivia when Dorothy died.

Gonzales wants The Bank by Olivia to be involved in the community.

The restaurant’s food is fresh, natural and healthy. All the food is made inhouse.

“It’s food that you didn’t even know you wanted to try. It’s not so much soul food as it is southern food,” Gonzales said.

The Bank by Olivia’s menu includes catfish, burgers, salmon cakes, shrimp and grits, Crab Benedict, crab soup, desserts and more.

Eventually Gonzales hopes to have a thriving bar and live entertainment. She hopes to do events like happy hour, wine night and more. She plans to turn the back of the restaurant into a sports bar.

Tairren Olivia Massenburg, the head chef and co-owner, said The Bank by Olivia provides authenticity to Emporia.

“This is a family owned and run and financed business. Those are values that we are carrying throughout this business,” Massenburg said.

Workers at The Bank by Olivia become family from their first day and Massenburg wants the community to feel like family. Massenburg did not limit the menu on opening night because she wanted the community to be excited about the restaurant.

Remia Moore, a customer from Emporia attended the opening to support a fellow chamber member’s new business.

“I really just came to show some support and to make some new friends,” Moore said.

The restaurant is sophisticated.

“The staff is amazing. My waitress has been going nonstop at least since I’ve gotten here. Everything has been nice this far,” Moore said.

The Bank by Olivia is open Tuesday through Friday for a quick pickup breakfast from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Lunch starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Dinner is from 4:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday they close at midnight. Dinner ends at 10 p.m., but there will be a late menu from 10 p.m. to midnight. Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. is brunch. Sunday’s lunch and dinner is 4-9 p.m.

The Bank by Olivia is located at 401 South Main Street.