Duncan… The Magazine Winter 2018 - Page 9

Merchant has to Main Street Story and photos: Charlene Belew After closing its doors in 2011, Merchant reopened in August after all the right elements seemed to have fallen into all the right places. Haylee Root, who owns the Palace Theatre as well as the Merchant and serves as the Director of Duncan Public Schools Foundation, said they were waiting for the right opportunity to reopen the restaurant so many community members loved years ago. “People were really begging us to bring it back,” Root said, mentioning they only closed because help was scarce at the time. “Soft opening has been anything but soft.” The right opportunity, according to Root, came when Carole Scott, who used to work for Interurban, became available to help run the restaurant as the manager. “It worked out perfectly,” Root said. “Carole runs the show. She hires her own staff, she does her own food order, she counts the inventory.” Upon entering the little eatery connected directly to the Palace Theatre, guests walk up a flight of stairs into the main dining area where they can order their food. Heading further into the back of Root’s restaurant, you’re reminded that the eatery is paired with a theatre. The back dining room hangs over an old screening room where old films flicker across the movie screen. As you’re looking out at the screen, you can see all of the original chairs that people used to fill down below. The movie feels of the Palace directly translate into Root’s restaurant. Some dishes, like the sandwiches, are even served with sides of popcorn and a slice of a fresh and sour movie pickle. Sandwiches at the shop are served on the consumer’s choice of croissant or foccacia. With five sandwiches on the menu, DUNCAN MAGAZINE | WINTER 2018 9