The History of the Sullivan Building

March 15, 2023

Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill has been deeply influenced by the history of our hometown, Anderson, SC. From the history of the building to this vibrant community, there is no part of our story that can be separated from the story of Anderson. 

Let’s start with our name. Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill pays homage to two of the businesses before us. “Sullivan’s” comes from the Sullivan building, which was erected in 1891, 108 years before our restaurant was born. “Metropolitan” pays respect to “The Metropolitan,” a restaurant that was owned and operated by our owner Bill's grandfather in Columbia, SC. This name speaks to the family heritage that our business is rooted in and the history of our community. 

The Sullivan building has played a key role in the commerce of downtown Anderson since the city’s foundation. Erected in 1891, this building was home to the Alliance Store, founded by Rufus Hill. The building’s original name “The Hill Block” can still be seen in the “H” embellishments that fit between the molding on the store front. 

The Hill Block became known as the Sullivan Building in 1903 when the building was purchased by Sullivan’s Hardware Company. As the quickest growing hardware store in South Carolina, Sullivan’s Hardware Company was able to stimulate the local Anderson economy. The company grew to own their own warehouse behind the Sullivan Building, now home to The Lofts, and an additional storefront in Downtown Anderson, now home to the Anderson Art Center. Sullivan’s Hardware Company was a faithful steward of the Sullivan Building until 1986 when the company closed. 

For the next 13 years, the Sullivan Building was home to community projects, art displays, and the occasional fundraising event. The building was purchased in 1998 by the Corontzes brothers (the owners of Pixie and Bill’s and Calhoun Corners restaurants in Clemson, SC), sold to Bill Nickas in 2003 and became home to Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill in 1999. It was purchased by Cobb and Denise Oxford in late 2009 as a gift from the couple to the Anderson community.

At the time of our opening, Sullivan’s was one of the three fully operational businesses on the main street strip. The building has been majoritively unaltered. The hardwood staircase, original wood flooring, columns, and a majority of the interior woodwork are the same as they were when the building was erected. This building has been home to many businesses since 1999, like a shoe shining business that is now home to Cahaly’s suit shop, a flower shop that now houses a private dining room, and ECity Java’s coffee shop. 

Sullivan’s is proud to do business in this historic building. We love sharing this story and history with our guests, and we look forward to the history that is still being made! 

Copyright © 2021 Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill. All Rights Reserved.

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