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McCray's Tavern opens on square in Lawrenceville

LAWRENCEVILLE - Anyone craving a mug of Franziskaner draft beer? How about a Flying Dog Double Dog on tap?

McCray's Tavern opened Friday on the square in downtown Lawrenceville offering 38 beers on tap, 10 bottled brands and a full bar selling mixed drinks.

Contrary to its name, McCray's Tavern markets itself as an eatery rather than an alehouse.

"We are a restaurant, not a bar," said Manager Lauren Byers. "We sell way more food than alcohol, so (permitting) was never a problem."

Lawrenceville's city code requires an establishment serving both food and alcoholic beverages to sell at least 80 percent of its gross sales in food. It must serve at least two meals per day at least six days per week.

McCray's is the newest establishment to open in the downtown area as part of a long term plan to revitalize the city's oldest section. Its cozy, brick walled interior was about one-third full of customers in the middle of the afternoon on a rainy Wednesday, a time of day when most restaurants stand somewhat quiet. McCray's rooftop patio offers diners a great view of downtown Lawrenceville.

"Our vision is to restore all these historic buildings and turn them into a place to live, eat, work or shop," said Emory Morsberger of the Morsberger Group. "This has been a home run for us."

A late-night dance hall or a bar on the square is not out of the question in the future, Morsberger said.

"We are going in that direction, but it will be awhile before we are Buckhead," he said.

McCray's Tavern in Smyrna has been open about six months, Byers said.