Downtown Danville gaining a new restaurant — Harvey’s

Published 1:37 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2017

An out-of state job reassignment; the birth of a child; an existing five-generation family-owned funeral business; and the closing of two downtown restaurants presented an opportunity for a Danville couple to dig in and plant their family roots deeper in downtown Danville with their soon-to-open restaurant, Harvey’s.
Alex and AnnYager McCrosky are not new to the area. AnnYager is a funeral director with her family’s business, Stith Funeral Home, while Alex has been working out-of-town for a large construction company. However, his hobby is competition barbecuing and he recently opened Happy Hour BBQ in Junction City, which is currently closed for the season. He said it will reopen when the weather turns warmer in the spring.
When the possibility surfaced of Alex being reassigned to California, requiring much of his time to spent away from his wife and baby, the McCroskys decided to invest in themselves and in downtown Danville with their restaurant.
“I love downtown. I grew up downtown,” AnnYager said. “I want my kids to have memories of running around downtown.”
“I used to love going into Freddie’s,” an Italian restaurant that used to be on South Fourth Street where Harvey’s is opening, she added. “And I want my kids to have those kinds of memories.”
The couple is hoping that as their 7-month-old daughter, Mary Rives, grows up, “she and her friends will stop by for a milkshake, or French fries, or whatever we have here. I want her running through the door with her friends,” AnnYager said.
Until then, the McCroskys are working to create an inviting ambiance for everyone who comes through the door.
“We want an atmosphere where people want to come downtown and want to hang out, kind of like the ‘Cheers’ of Danville,” AnnYager said.
The restaurant’s yellow and brick walls are adorned with historic photos of Danville, vintage yearbook pages from Danville High School, original artwork and even a large photo of Alex’s parents taken in 1967 when they attended a Playboy party at a fraternity house on the Ole Miss campus — formal attire with white coat, bow tie and shorts.
The name “Harvey’s” is in homage to Alex’s late father, Harvey McCrosky, who was from Holly Springs, Mississippi.
“My dad was a character,” Alex said. “One of his favorite things on the planet to do was to cook. He would cook for anybody who walked in the house, any time.”
While Alex attended Ole Miss, many times he and some of his friends would drive about 30 minutes from campus to his parents’ home.
“Even when we came to his house at 11 on a Thursday night after we’d been out doing our thing, Dad would cook — just on the drop of a hat. He would make us a meal at 11 at night. He loved to cook.”
Alex’s mother, Caroline, was also a special person, he said.
“She was a huge influence on what we’re doing in the kitchen. We have several recipes of hers.”
There are also several recipes that belong to AnnYager’s family, Alex said.
Not only did Alex’s dad love to cook, “He also loved a bar and pub atmosphere.”
“I can’t put his name on it (the restaurant) and not do it the way he would have done it,” Alex said.
Over the decades, Harvey’s location at 120 South Fourth St. has been home to at least five different restaurants, each serving their own style of foods — Italian, Cajun, Mediterranean, Mexican … most recently, it was Nellie Burton’s, a steakhouse and bar.
Harvey’s isn’t going to be a fussy restaurant, Alex said. But it will feature a seasonal menu that changes about every six to eight weeks. They will be serving grilled and smothered pork chops, hamburgers, fries, Po’Boy sandwiches — including fried shrimp and catfish — and occasionally brisket.
Alex said vegetables will include a lot of roasted root vegetables in the cooler months and sautéed squash and zucchini in the warmer ones.
“We’re going to take advantage of that when it’s in season here,” he said.
The entrees and wines will change with the seasons as well.
There will be no house wines, Alex said. They serve four reds and three whites in the fall and winter, and four whites and three reds in the spring and summer.
“We’re a family-friendly bar,” Alex said. They are a family restaurant with a full-service bar, he said, first and foremost.
“I am hoping to have a very lively happy hour.” But at the same time, he said, “We want you to bring your 1-year-old grandson, or 2-year-old daughter and not worry about if you’re going to hear a bunch of foul language.”
Then he laughs, “But if the Cats miss a shot, I can’t guarantee anything.”

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